A survey of 233 pregnant women attending a hospital in Ethiopia because of an obstetric problem found a strong correlation between husbands being involved in planning for maternal health and the woman attending an antenatal clinic more than once. Mothers reporting that they had attended more than one antenatal appointment were 2.9 times more likely to report involvement of their partners in maternal health planning.
Women who had experienced earlier obstetric problems were 1.79 more likely to report their husbands being involved in planning. Women living further than 5km from a health facility were 1.28 more likely to report the involvement of their husband. Both indicate more involvement of husbands when there are more challenges for the women.
The study took place in Wolaito Sodo, 332km south of Addis Ababa, in two town hospitals. It involved interviewing women while attending the hospital, using the JHPIEGO birth preparedness and complication readiness measuring tools. Mothers were asked about their husbands’ participation in joint decisions about where to attend an antenatal clinic, about saving money for an emergency and about where to go in an emergency.
97% of the women completing the survey had attended an antenatal clinic, and of these, 83% said it was a joint decision with their husband. 32% of the women being surveyed in the hospital had come with their partner.
The maternal mortality rate in Ethiopia in 2015 was 412 deaths per 100,000 live births. That is a 71% reduction in the 15 years since 1990. A key strategy to achieve this improvement is equipping families to make birth plans, including birth-preparedness and complication readiness. Women’s husbands are highly influential over such arrangements.
Paulos K, Awoke N, Mekonnen B & Arba A (2020), Male involvement in birth preparedness and complication readiness for emergency referral at Sodo town or Wolaita zone, South Ethiopia: A cross sectional study, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 20
Header photo: UNICEF Ethiopia. Creative Commons.