Exploring determinants of male involvement in PMTCT programs in Chibombo District of Central Province of Zambia

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Hang'andu, Matongo Lenon
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Introduction: The role that men can play in the prevention of HIV is cardinal in changing the course of the epidemic. When men take part in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, their knowledge of HIV increases, they become supportive to their partners and their response to HIV testing improves. Aim: The main purpose of the study was to determine factors that influence male involvement in PMTCT programs in Chibombo district of Central Province in Zambia. Since men are seen to be powerful decision makers at house hold level, their involvement in PMTCT programs could positively influence the utilization of PMTCT services and also curb the spread of HIV. Methodology: The study was a cross sectional descriptive studyconducted in Chibombo District in Central Province of Zambia. The information was collected from 240 male participants whose partners had attended ANC and PMTCT programs from 1st January, 2008 to 31st December, 2013 using a semi structured questionnaire, and from six focus group discussions comprising of community members, health workers and community health workers that were held in Chisamba, Keembe and Chibombo.Systematic random sampling technique was used to select participants. Results: The participants had a mean age of 35years, and that age was not statistically significant (p > 0.353). Factors such as education, and knowledge of PMTCT (P< 0.007, and 0.01 respectively) had an association with men’s willingness to attend PMTCT programs.The occupation of respondents who were in formal employment wasstatistically significant (p 0.026) indicating an association with male involvement in PMTCT programs. There was no association between Age, residence, and financial earnings and attending PMTCT program attendance (P> 0.05) and only 134(58.3%) knew partners ANC appointment. The majority of the respondents, 219(91.7%) indicated that they would accept couple counselling and testing during PMTCT programs. Findings from the Focus Group Discussions revealed that there are individual, socio economic, health related factors that have an effect on men’s participation in PMTCT activities, hence need for community sensitization for men on the benefits of prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and also that timing and what is offered during the programs should include men’s reproductive health needs. Conclusion: The level of male involvement in PMTCT programs was associated with knowledge of PMTCT, occupation and education level of male partners.The willingness of males to get involved in PMTCT was low 63.7% hence the need for more concerted effort to persuade men to be attending PMTCT programs.
Masters of Science in Public Health - 2014
Medical Sceening , Health Counseling---Zambia