Factors influencing male partners' involvement in prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS program in Gucha South District, Kenya
Kamire, Vivienne A
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Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV program forms an important component of the overall HIV prevention strategy. Even though the involvement of men in this program has been associated with an increased uptake of PMTCT interventions by women, it remains one of the major challenges faced by program implementers on how to reach these male partners' (Rutenberg et aI, 2003). The purpose of this study was therefore to investigate factors that influence male partners' involvement in PMTCT of HIVIAIDS program in Gucha South district in Kenya. Among the objectives the study investigated includes: establishing the extent to which attitude of male partners' influence involvement in PMTCT of HIV program, assessing the level at which knowledge of male partners involvement in PMTCT of HIV program, determining the extent to which Government practices and guidelines for male partners' influence involvement in PMTCT of HIV program, and investigating how sociocultural factors influence male partners' involvement in PMTCT of HIV program. The study employed descriptive survey research design using multi methods of data collection that is qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative method employed questionnaire which was used to collect data from 151 pregnant mothers aged between 20 to 49 years living in Gucha South district and have accessed PMTCT of HIV services in the selected facilities and have visited the facilities for more than ones. On the other hand qualitative data was obtained through key informants from the spouses of the pregnant mothers at the facility level, 6 HCPs from facility working in MCH and 2 RH officers coordinating reproductive health activities in the district giving a total of 159 respondents. However, in this study the target population consisted of 178 couples aged between 20 to 49 years with consideration of the pregnant women living in Gucha South district and had accessed PMTCT of HIV services in the selected facilities on return visit. The respondents were randomly sampled, where a systematic random sampling technique was used to select the sample units and the health care providers offering the PMTCT of HIV services were purposively sampled. The quantitative data was analyzed using statistical analysis software called SPSS through running frequencies and percentages and presented in tables. The qualitative data was analyzed by using thematic framework by coding the data into themes. The study revealed that most of male partners' have adequately not been involved in PMTCT of HIV programs in Gucha South district, consequently affecting program uptake. They do not realize their importance due to inadequate knowledge about the programs, hindrance by cultural settings in the community which pose negative perceptions towards the program and the integration of PMTCT of HIV program to ANC clinic is an obstacle for males to access the service because the environment is tailored to favour females more than males. The recommendations of the study is that PMTCT clinics should be made men friendly and service providers should ensure that all efforts are made to involve men from the beginning in every PMTCT of HIV intervention. Men should be enforced to accompany their couples to the ANC through invitation letter from the beginning of the visits. The health care providers should make deliberate efforts to educate men about PMTCT of HIV whenever there is an opportunity to meet men for example on the wards, calling short sensitization meetings in places where men are found including churches. Community based agents should also be educated on PMTCT of HIV so that they can teach men in the communities. The study suggests that further research needs to be conducted more on quantitative research with men themselves as respondents to understand their attitude better by exploring the factors which influence male partners' adoption of PMCT of HIV program from men's own perspective is important.