Policymaker, health provider and community perspectives on male involvement during pregnancy in southern Mozambique : a qualitative study

Auteurs & affiliatie

Anna Galle, Helio Cossa, Sally Griffin, Nafissa Osman, Kristien Roelens, Olivier Degomme


Background: Increasing male involvement during pregnancy is considered an important, but often overlooked intervention for improving maternal health in sub-Saharan Africa. Intervention studies aimed at improving maternal health mostly target mothers hereby ignoring the crucial role their partners play in their ability to access antenatal care (ANC) and to prevent and treat infectious diseases like HIV and malaria. Very little is known about the current level of male involvement and barriers at different levels. This study explores the attitudes and beliefs of health policymakers, health care providers and local communities regarding men's involvement in maternal health in southern Mozambique. Methods: Ten key informant interviews with stakeholders were carried out to assess their attitudes and perspectives regarding male involvement in programmes addressing maternal health, followed by 11 days of semi structured observations in health care centers. Subsequently 16 focus group discussions were conducted in the community and at provider level, followed by three in depth couple interviews. Analysis was done by applying a socio-ecological systems theory in thematic analysis. Results: Results show a lack of strategy and coherence at policy level to stimulate male involvement in maternal health programmes. Invitation cards for men are used as an isolated intervention in health facilities but these have not lead to the expected success. Providers have a rather passive attitude towards male involvement initiatives. In the community however, male attendance at ANC is considered important and men are willing to take a more participating role. Main barriers are the association of male attendance at ANC with being HIV infected and strong social norms and gender roles. On the one hand men are seen as caretakers of the family by providing money and making the decisions. On the other hand, men supporting their wife by showing interest in their health or sharing household tasks are seen as weak or as a manifestation of HIV seropositivity. Conclusion: A clear strategy at policy level and a multi-level approach is needed. Gender-equitable relationships between men and women should be encouraged in all maternal health interventions and providers should be trained to involve men in ANC.




Olivier Degomme
Anna Galle

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