Men shun PMTCT services in Malawi –Kalondolondo report

Kalondolondo team

Kalondolondo team

A latest study on issues of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in Malawi has revealed that men shun involvement in the PMTCT largely because of cultural and traditional beliefs.

The study, conducted by the Foundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS) under Community Based Monitoring locally known as Kalondolondo, reveals that 82.4 percent of men have negative attitude towards PMTCT services arguing that it is for women alone.

“During the assessment, it come out that men have bad perception towards PMTCT, therefore they are not involved in the initiative,” says the report.

The study further notes  that cultural and traditional belief contributes a lot forcing men to take advantage of them.

“Culture and traditional beliefs and other risky behaviors among men such as polygamy and multiple concurrent relationships are some of the contributing factors that make men shun PMTCT services,” note the report.

Furthermore, men believe that they are not supposed to be escorting their spouses to antenatal clinics saying the community members laugh at them.

“It is believed that men are breadwinners for the family, therefore they have limited time and they are very busy such that they cannot escort their spouses to health facilities,” reveals the report.

Kalondolondo Project Officer Ruth Nkhazi said that government should also take an initiative in encouraging men to take a role in the PMTCT activities saying it begins with them.

“Out of eight district that we are a targeting, it has revealed that in seven district the involvement of men in the initiative is very bad which is a challenge to a country as a whole,” said Nkhazi.

However, Senior Traditional Authority Kalonga has down played the findings saying men just need civic education on PMTCT services saying the initiative is a new thing to the Malawians.

He told Nyasa Times that people should not hide behind culture because what people need is the knowledge on the subject.

“It is not that our cultural and traditional beliefs hinder the PMTCT but negligence by men because starting from the past women were going a lone to the hospitals which is a challenge for them to adhere to the development in no time,” said  Karonga.

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