Antenatal care services need to be redesigned to engage with partners, who are key stakeholders in maternal and child health (Uganda)


A study of fathers in Buyende District, Uganda, involving 135 individual questionnaires and 60 participants in focus groups, found that 78% had attended a clinic once or more. 10% had attended four or more times. For those not attending, reasons given were not knowing about the service at all, not living with the woman and being too busy with work (e.g. fishermen who work at night).

The men were critical of the health facilities:

  • Small consultation rooms where partners are told to wait outside.
  • Very long waits and nothing for partners to do except stand around.
  • Rudeness of staff.
  • Fear of HIV testing

Only 11% of the partners used supplementary services other than HIV at antenatal clinics.

The researchers make six specific recommendations:

  • Educate men about the importance of their involvement in antenatal clinics.
  • Improve antenatal services:
    • Non-judgmental and client-friendly language towards men, who are key stakeholders in women’s and children’s health.
    • Better design of health facilities in future to be more couple-friendly, affording privacy during consultations and while waiting.
    • Better appointment regime to reduce waiting times.
    • Develop specific engagement with men at antenatal clinics, as stakeholders in health.
    • Consider antenatal clinics at weekends.


Alupo P, Atim ER, Kaggwa H, Mudondo C, Ogallo C, Ogwang J, Wanume B, Nekaka R & Nteziyaremye J (2021), Male partner involvement in the utilization of antenatal care services in Kidera, Buyende District, Uganda: Cross sectional mixed methods study, Research Square pre-print (not yet peer reviewed)

Header photo: World Bank. Creative Commons.