Men's perspectives on male participation in antenatal health care with their expectant wives at Arakan Garrison Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia

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Muloongo, Hamalambo
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The University of Zambia
Background Male partner participation in antenatal care services is of great importance if pregnant women are to fully utilise and benefit from the services offered to them at antenatal clinics. Male partner participation in antenatal care services is low in Zambia. At Arakan Garrison Hospital in Lusaka, only one in twelve pregnant women attends antenatal care with the husband or partner. This study aimed to explore the perspectives of men on male participation in antenatal care services at Arakan Garrison Hospital. Methods The study used a qualitative case study approach. Maximum variation purposive sampling was used to enlist sixteen men whose wives were pregnant both those who participated in antenatal care with their spouses and those who did not. In-depth interviews were conducted with participants to get their perspectives in relation to being involved in antenatal care. Collected data was transcribed in verbatim and codes, categories and themes were generated from the collected data. Data analysis was guided by thematic the framework analysis approach. Results This study showed that male participation at antenatal clinic mean knowing what pregnant women went through during pregnancy, commitment and collective responsibility and an opportunity to learn. The study showed that the men‟s roles in antenatal care are providing necessities during pregnancy, acquiring information on pregnancy and needed care and provision of physical and emotional support to the wife during pregnancy. Motivators for male participation in antenatal care are, having knowledge about the importance of male participation in antenatal care, desire to have a healthy mother and baby, the desire to learn about pregnancy and needed care, privileges that are given to those who attend as a couple, the desire to be part of the decision making process and being a responsible father. The study identified deterrents to male participation as being military operations, not knowing that men needed to attend, fear of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) test and belief that women and/or health workers would be uncomfortable if the husband was also present during the screening of a pregnant woman. Conclusion The study suggests that military men in Arakan Garrison are willing to participate in antenatal care. However, they faced some challenges particularly, the engagement in military operations that made them stay away from their homes most of the time. Furthermore, some men were not aware of the importance of participating in antenatal care with their wives. The study generated knowledge on men‟s perspectives on participating in antenatal care with their pregnant wives. This knowledge is useful in coming up with interventions to improve the male partner participation in antenatal care.
Obstetrics--Social Aspects--Zambia , Antenatal care--Beliefs and practices