A study from Ghana has found low levels of male involvement in maternal and newborn health provision. Only 35% of a random sample of 100 men had attended antenatal care, 44% had come with the woman for delivery and 20% had accompanied the mother to postnatal care.
The survey was carried out in the town of Anomabo in Ghana. 72% of the men were unemployed, 55% had school education and 59% reported their partners had no education.
Men whose partners were more educated were more likely to attend clinics. Perhaps more educated women discuss health issues with their partners more than less educated women do. In contrast, less educated men were just as likely to attend facilities as more educated men.
Men with more children already were more likely to attend facilities.
Other factors linked to higher rates of attendance were: shorter distance to the health facility (the significance could be amplified by the high rate of unemployment in this sample) and a positive attitude on the part of health workers. Barriers to attending included cultural norms defining gender roles and poor male engagement policies on the part of services (considering men to be a problem for maternal and newborn health).
The researchers, led by Joshua Craymah at the School of Medial Sciences at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, conclude: “There is the need for urgent interventions to scale up the involvement of men in maternal health care utilization.”
Craymah JP, Oppong RK & Tuoyire DA (2017), Male involvement in maternal health care at Anomabo Central Region, Ghana, International Journal of Reproductive Medicine
Photo: World Bank Photo Collection. Creative Commons.