In 2015 the World Health Organisation set a new agenda. It issued a recommendation that maternal health services should engage with fathers for the sake of the health of mother and baby.
“Interventions to promote the involvement of men during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth are recommended to facilitate and support improved self-care of women, improved home care practices for women and newborns, improved use of skilled care during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period for women and newborns, and increase the timely use of facility care for obstetric and newborn complications.”
WHO Recommendations on Health Promotion Interventions for Maternal and Newborn Health (2015). See our earlier article on this recommendation, WHO recommends involving men in maternal & newborn health.
How to respond to WHO at the local level?
Here are three ideas for where to start.
- Run a course for midwives and health professionals. We have developed our own course. We can deliver this online or we can visit and run it with you (with translation into your language). This goes into the science behind the method, particularly the hormonal and brain changes that take place in fathers. We can run a half-day course attached to an existing health conference or event in your country.
- Organise a national or regional conference on engaging fathers, to create momentum, find out who is doing what and alert funders to new possibilities. An event like this will create great publicity also.
- Start a project in one maternal/newborn health service to develop and test ways to engage with fathers, based on the latest evidence and based on local conditions – for example, an information tool for parents that could be extended nationally, a practical how-to-do-it guide that other services in your country can use later.
We are already talking to many organisations about this work. If you are interested too, then please contact us!