Gender norms, attitudes and perceptions towards male involvement in maternal health In Kafue District
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Gender norms, attitudes and perceptions towards male involvement in maternal health in Kafue district. Despite the efforts by the Ministry of Health in ensuring that national health policy guide lines in Zambia are put in place and demand male participation in maternal health services, the response is still low when it comes to accompanying due to work demands, gender norms, attitudes and perceptions. Quantitative data was collected using closed ended questions from 140 respondents which was processed and analyzed using SPSS version 23. Qualitative data was collected using in-depth interviews from 10 respondents. Qualitative data was analyzed by emerging themes and Nvivo10. Among other things, the study revealed that generally men and women from Kafue were more knowledgeable on antenatal care. In the study it was also revealed that respondents had a positive attitude towards male involvement however, due to gender norms theirs roles were limited when it came to delivery and child care. However, the findings show that men were involved in supporting their wives and helping out with house chores and providing money for skilled birth at a hospital and postnatal care. Men who were married were more likely to be involved in maternal health than men who were not married. The study also revealed that men were not comfortable with discussing their wives pregnancy with a health care provider due to lack of privacy. Reflection on the findings seems to suggest that there were many factors affecting male involvement in maternal health. Lack of messages and programs targeting men, health staff attitude during delivery, gender norms such as men were not allowed to attend to women when in labor. In the study it was also revealed that men and women had a positive perception towards pregnancy being a shared responsibility, men supporting and caring for their wives during and after delivery. Although a high proportion of male respondents in Kafue were aware of antenatal and postnatal care services, the number of male spouses who actually accompanied their partners for delivery and postnatal care was low. Kafue District Health Office should take steps to raise awareness through community outreaches and extend the service to the weekend so as to accommodate men who work during the week. Key words: Gender norms, Attitudes, Perceptions, Male involvement, Maternal health.
University of Zambia