The attitudes of Rural Communities towards male Midwives: A case study of Mpongwe
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The study sought to identify attitudes inherent in rural communities towards the practice of midwifery by males in Mpongwe district. The objectives of the study were; to establish the views that men and women have towards male midwives, to determine factors that promotes or hinders acceptability of male midwives by rural communities and to describe the experiences of male midwives who worked in rural areas. A case study using qualitative method was employed. Purposive and Snowball samplings were used to select the sample. In-depth interview guide and focus group discussion guide were used to collect data. Thematic analysis was used to analyze data.As regards to the views that men and women have towards male midwives it was found that women were ambivalent whereas men were decisive in terms of the stand they had on male midwives. Men seemed to be more authoritative on pregnancy and delivery matters than the women. As regards to factors that promotes or hinders acceptability of male midwives by rural communities, there were more reasons addressing inhibitions than promotions. It was prohibited culturally to see a woman naked whom you are not married to. However, more women than men acknowledged the roles male midwives played in reducing mortality and morbidity. The experiences of male midwives who worked or are still working in rural areas confessed that working as a male midwife was not an easy job. Because the job was associated with providing intimate care, it exposed them to personal, interpersonal as well communal emotional challenges. Based on the findings, the study recommends the following: The Ministry of Health and other stakeholders like the nongovernmental organisations to partner and employ a holistic approach to inculcate a change in the mind set of our communities. It would be necessary in the immediate future to let the media start talking about it. Drama on gender should be organized in order to sensitize not only in Mpongwe but also other rural communities. The Ministry of Chiefs Affairs should have an authoritative voice to traditional leaders, a luminary in the field of male midwifery.