A qualitative exploration of the meaning and understanding of male partner involvement among men in pre- and post-natal care: a study at health care clinics, Mpumalanga province, South Africa

OUTPUT TYPE: Conference or seminar papers
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2016
TITLE AUTHOR(S): G.Matseke, S.Sifunda, R.Ruiter, N.Barylski, V.J.Rodriquez, D.L.Jones, S.M.Weiss, K.Peltzer, G.Setswe
KEYWORDS: MEN, MPUMALANGA PROVINCE, PARTNER INVOLVEMENT, POSTNATAL WOMEN, PREVENTION OF MOTHER TO CHILD TRANSMISSION (PMTCT) PROGRAMME, PRIMARY HEALTH CARE CENTRES
DEPARTMENT: Social Aspects of Public Health (SAPH)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9700

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Abstract

Male partner involvement (MPI) in the implementation of PMTCT programmes has recently been highlighted as a key aspect that can lead to improved health outcomes for HIV positive women and their babies. Earlier PMTCT protocols tended to focus solely on pregnant women and almost completely ignored male partners as being a critical in the success of PMTCT. However it later emerged that MPI is critical in improving coverage as well as adherence to the complex cascade of protocols that needs to be followed in order to prevent vertical transmission of HIV.. This paper presents the results of a qualitative exploration of the meaning and understanding of MPI and its integration in PMTCT programs in clinics in South Africa. Focus groups discussions (FGDs) were conducted with men in four different communities representing both urban and rural settings. About 48 men participated in the FGDs. Our findings demonstrate that the meaning and understanding of MPI varies in different communities. Material support was viewed as more critical to men than attending ANC appointment. Lack of patience among men was mentioned as a barrier as ANC visits entail waiting for long periods at the clinic. Some participants mentioned hostility from clinic staff who were not very receptive to having men accompanying partners. Cultural beliefs around pregnancy and child birth were cited as some of the reasons for poor MPI in ANC. MPI require an understanding of context, cultural and social factors related to pregnancy, child birth and role expectations.