Assessing the effectiveness of communication methods used for male involvement in preventing mother to child transmission of HIV in selected health centres of Lusaka District
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This report is from a study whose principal objective was to assess the effectiveness of communication methods used for male involvement in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV activities in health centres of Lusaka district. The study undertook to find out how much the male folk knew about PMTCT and to what extent they were involved in PMTCT activities. It also established the types of communication methods used for men to know that their spouses were HIV positive and the necessary activities aimed at preventing the HIV virus from being passed on to the baby. Fortunately, a lot of women shared that their spouses knew that they were HIV positive and that most of them learnt about PMTCT from health centres and through interpersonal communication with their women. The study also revealed that some women were scared to inform their spouses that they were HIV positive. Actually, respondents expressed fear that low male involvement in PMTCT activities would hinder the uptake of key PMTCT services such as maternal and infant Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, prevention of HIV re-infections, health centre delivery of HIV exposed babies, and infant feeding options and practices. Indeed, the study revealed that there were no robust communication strategies for active male participation in PMTCT activities. It is, therefore, recommended that there should be continuous sensitization on PMTCT targeted at men and this should be through the use of mass media and targeted discussion fora. Furthermore, male involvement communication efforts should concentrate on making men appreciate that it is their responsibility to ensure that their children are born HIV free. Lastly, but not the least, the fight for male involvement should be a continuous process aimed at ensuring that more and more men acquire knowledge in PMTCT and play their expected roles in reducing HIV prevalence in children.