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BMC Womens Health. 2008 Oct 10;8:17. doi: 10.1186/1472-6874-8-17.

Intimate partner violence among pregnant women in Rwanda.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, National University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda.



Intimate partner violence (IPV), defined as actual or threatened physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse by current or former partners is a global public health concern. The prevalence and determinants of intimate partner violence (IPV) against pregnant women has not been described in Rwanda. A study was conducted to identify variables associated with IPV among Rwandan pregnant women.


A convenient sample of 600 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics were administered a questionnaire which included items on demographics, HIV status, IPV, and alcohol use by the male partner. Mean age and proportions of IPV in different groups were assessed. Odds of IPV were estimated using logistic regression analysis.


Of the 600 respondents, 35.1% reported IPV in the last 12 months. HIV+ pregnant women had higher rates of all forms of IVP violence than HIV- pregnant women: pulling hair (44.3% vs. 20.3%), slapping (32.0% vs. 15.3%), kicking with fists (36.3% vs. 19.7%), throwing to the ground and kicking with feet (23.3% vs. 12.7%), and burning with hot liquid (4.1% vs. 3.5%). HIV positive participants were more than twice likely to report physical IPV than those who were HIV negative (OR = 2.38; 95% CI [1.59, 3.57]). Other factors positively associated with physical IPV included sexual abuse before the age of 14 years (OR = 2.69; 95% CI [1.69, 4.29]), having an alcohol drinking male partner (OR = 4.10; 95% CI [2.48, 6.77] for occasional drinkers and OR = 3.37; 95% CI [2.05, 5.54] for heavy drinkers), and having a male partner with other sexual partners (OR = 1.53; 95% CI [1.15, 2.20]. Education was negatively associated with lifetime IPV.


We have reported on prevalence of IPV violence among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Rwanda, Central Africa. We advocate that screening for IPV be an integral part of HIV and AIDS care, as well as routine antenatal care. Services for battered women should also be made available.

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