Involving men in maternity care: Health service delivery issues (PDF)
Mullick,Saiqa; Kunene,Busi; Wanjiru,Monica
Agenda: Special Focus on Gender, Culture and Rights (special issue): 124-135
Publication date: 2005
Men in South Africa have traditionally not been involved in the reproductive health care of their partners. They do not normally accompany their partners to family planning or antenatal care consultations, and are mostly absent during labour and delivery. Partner notification and treatment for sexually transmitted infections have also remained problematic due to several factors, including poor power relations between men and women, lack of knowledge and men's interest in their partner's reproductive health, and poor couple communication.In 2001, the Reproductive Health Research Unit (RHRU) of Witwatersrand University, in partnership with the FRONTIERS Program of Population Council and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, began a three-year operations research study, to incorporate men in their partners' maternity care, in order to improve couples' reproductive health and pregnancy outcomes.This study showed that it was indeed acceptable and feasible to involve men in the reproductive health care of their partners. Both men and women were interested in men's involvement during maternity care. However, there remain a number of health service delivery challenges that need to be addressed within the South African context before maternity services become more male friendly.