Blantyre District Health Office says the number of men escorting their partners to antenatal clinics, on expected roles during pregnancy and childbirth, has increased in the past two years from seven percent in 2015 to 15 percent in 2016.
Blantyre District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Medison Matchaya said this in Blantyre on Friday at Chilangoma Primary School during the handing over of a trophy and two footballs to men from Traditional Authority (T/A) Kuntaja who were seen to be exemplary when escorting their partners to antenatal clinics.
He said increased men’s involvement in reproductive health in the district has come due to among other things the understanding of men of their roles in safe motherhood.
“Last year, we started a project known as Male Involvement in reproductive health on pilot phase but results so far have shown that men are taking part during pregnancy by escorting their partners to antenatal clinics up to childbirth.
“The pilot phase targeted three Traditional Authorities namely Kuntaja, Somba and Kunthembwe but before the pilot phase rolled out, we did a research where we found that male involvement in reproductive health is at 8 percent.
“Now the pilot phase is done and we have carried out an analysis where men involvement in pregnancy is at 15 percent and right now we are planning to roll out the project to all Traditional Authorities in Blantyre,” Dr Matchaya said.
He said the main aim of the programme is to ensure that men are escorting their spouses to antenatal clinics during pregnancy and after childbirth for the benefit of the child.
Blantyre District Coordinator for Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), Edda Libiba said male involvement in reproductive health issues plays a key role to positive pregnancy outcomes adding men are supposed to keep abreast of the condition of their spouses at all times.
She said her office is still developing appropriate interventions to increase male involvement in pregnancy and childbirth since many men still believe that they can know their health condition through their wives after blood test.
Libida said, “The trophy and the footballs being presented today are just to thank men from Traditional Authority Kuntaja for being exemplary when escorting their wives to antenatal clinics. The whole Blantyre male involvement in these matters is at 15 percent but we have received more cases of men escorting their wives to antenatal clinics in T/A Kuntaja than all T/As hence the award.
“In all Villages, we have what we call peer male educators who sensitize people on matters of male involvement in pregnancy and we are still developing appropriate interventions to increase even more the male involvement in pregnancy and childbirth.
“Suggestions to improve men’s involvement include creating more awareness for fathers, male-targeted antenatal education and support, and changing provider attitudes. We want men to be actively involved in the healthcare of their spouses.”
Group Village headman Solomon has since urged health authorities to continue identifying innovative ways of operationalizing the policy of male involvement in pregnancy and childbirth in order to effectively engage men who are keen to be involved in healthcare of their partners.
“The trophy that we have received today clearly demonstrates the commitment men from T/A Kuntaja have as regards reproductive health issues. I promise that we will continue to be exemplary,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :