Using radio to promote male participation in maternal health (Malawi)


A study in the Mchinji District of Malawi explored the impact of radio broadcasts on the topic of male participation in maternal health.

In the district there is a radio programme, Phukusi la Moyo, targeted at pregnant women. It encourages women to take responsibility for encouraging their husbands to attend antenatal and postnatal clinics. The researchers collected questionnaire data from 3,825 women, asking if they listened to the programme and then whether their husband attended antenatal clinics, the birth itself and postnatal clinics.

81% of women who listened to the radio programme reported their partners attended antenatal clinics, compared to 73% of women who did not listen.

For attendance at birth the figures were 73% for listeners and 64% of non-listeners.

For attendance at postnatal clinics, 60% of listeners said husbands accompanied them, compared to 44% of non-listeners.

The study raises some interesting questions. Is there a causal relationship between listening to the programme and husbands attending clinics? Or are women who listen to radio programmes like this more likely to have more supportive husbands? Also both the radio programme and the research itself did not attempt direct connection with fathers. What would the story be if the radio programme targeted fathers and the researchers had asked fathers their own perspectives?


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: Jos Verhoogen. Creative Commons.