Acceptability of male midwives in birth/delivery care in Ndola

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Chilumba, Janness Namusokwe
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The study sought to determine acceptability of male midwives in birth and delivery in Ndola (both rural and urban). The literature reviewed has revealed that there are very few studies that have been conducted worldwide and at regional level which focus on gender perspectives, family planning and male circumcision.The study sought to answer research questions: To what extent have male midwives been accepted during birth and delivery? What is contributing to acceptability or non acceptability of male midwives in the community? And finally should training of male midwives continue? A cross sectional study was done in two urban health centres and two rural health centres of Ndola. A 1:5 systematic random sampling was used to select the respondents. Mothers were followed in their homes using the addresses from the register. A total of 420 respondents were requested to take part in the study of which only 403 were recruited, giving a response rate of 96%. And 60 husbands of antenatal mothers were purposefully selected into the study for focus group discussions that is 15 from each area. Quantitative and qualitative data were analysed using SPSS version 11.5 and content analysis respectively. The Chi-square test was used to determine the associations of independent variables with the dependent variable. The study revealed that the respondents accepted to be cared for by male midwives because they are trained and offer the same care as female counterparts and that they are caring and gentle. Significant findings were noted amongst antenatal mothers who had higher educational level (68%), higher income (69.8%) and those who were not sure of their cultural values and who said the idea of not accepting male midwives was being done away with had 83% acceptance rate of male midwives. Those with previous experience with male midwives, 87.1% felt very safe when they were being attended to by male midwives and 75% of antenatal mothers accepted to be attended to by male midwives but suggested that they should be confined to antenatal clinics and not labour ward. A higher acceptance rate (73%) was noted among respondents who said they would accept to be cared for by male midwives as this was a reality that was prevailing citing critical shortage of midwives in general and that male midwives have empathetic attitude than their female counterparts who are believed to be short tempered and screaming at women in labour. A few (39.8%) would not accept to be attended to by male midwives because they felt embarrassed and shy to undress for a man other than their husbands and traditionally (53.4%) it was a taboo undressing before a man you are not married to. The men folk were against the idea of male midwives in birth and delivery since they themselves were not allowed to enter labour ward when they escorted their wives. They emphasized that traditionally and culturally it was just not right. However the study also revealed that the men folk felt that they should be sensitized on new programs such as this because they understand issues better than their wives so that they are able to prepare their wives psychologically as they go for birth and delivery services The study has revealed that most of the respondents were for the idea of training male midwives and this is a challenge to Ndola District Health Management Team to consider capacity building in this area though a few felt that if men are trained, they should only work in antenatal clinic and not labour and delivery.
Midwives , Birth attendants