Husbands who listened to a maternal health radio programme in Malawi were more likely to attend antenatal care with their wives, attend the birth and attend postnatal care.
So found a study of 3,825 women in the Mchinji District of Malawi in 2013, following the launch of a health education radio programme, Phukusi la Moyo (Tips of Life). The programme was targeted at mothers and included programmes focusing on male involvement in maternal healthcare.
In the study, which involved only interviews with mothers, 19% of women reported listening to the programme with their husbands.
- 81% of husbands whose wives said they listened to the programme attended antenatal classes, compared to 73% of those who did not.
- 76% of husbands whose wives said they listened to the programme attended the birth, compared to 64% of those who did not.
- 60% of husbands whose wives said they listened to the programme accompanies their wives to postnatal clinics, compared to 44% of those who did not.
The study, however, does not show if the link is causal or just correlation – it could be that more involved husbands are more likely to listen to the programme. Also the research did not interview fathers because it was felt that they would provide unreliable information, exaggerating their involvement.
The researchers point to other media projects in Africa that have been evaluated to promote health and recommend the use of mass media to engage with fathers.
It would be interesting to evaluate a mass media campaign that is directed at husbands/fathers and involves them in the evaluation.
Zamawe C, Banda M & Dube A (2015), The effect of mass media campaign on Men’s participation in maternal health: a cross-sectional study in Malawi, Reproductive Health 12
Photo: DFID. Creative Commons.