Describing Community Understanding of Male Involvement in Antenatal, Delivery and Postnatal Care; “Rural Context of Ibanda District, Southwest Uganda”

Author(s): Fred Bagenda*, Vincent Batwala, Charles Muchunguzi, Jerome Kabakyenga, Lynn Atuyambe

Introduction: Male involvement in the reproductive health of their partners has been shown to have positive outcomes of health. However male involvement description varies within communities due to different social and gender contexts. The description of male involvement is not documented in Ibanda. Therefore this study was done to describe male involvement in the local context.

Methods: The study was conceptualized, planned, and executed with combined cross-sectional and exploratory research designs because of its complexity in nature. Data collection was done using; narrative interviews and analyzed using a content-based approach.

Results: The two broad themes that describe male involvement were mostly instrumentalist and included the Level of involvement and social support perspective of involvement. Sub-themes were obtained under the description of male involvement as the extent to which males were involved, including just impregnating the wife without further attachment throughout the engagement. The subthemes/activities on the describing of male involvement as the perspective of social support included emotional support, role play in the wellbeing of mother and child, men's preparedness, and physical support. Physical support included; nutritional support, buying clothes for the expected baby, providing transportation, escorting the mother to a health facility, helping the wife with household chores as well as informative/appraisal supports.

Conclusion: The description of male involvement in antenatal, delivery, and postnatal care was mostly based on the "Instrumental" approach with two broad themes of Level of involvement and Social support. It is therefore important to understand the different contexts of describing male involvement in order to design the most appropriate intervention to increase male involvement. This is expected to improve the utilization of health services.

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