Exploring Male Attitudes On Involvement In Antenatal Care: The Case Of Prevention Of Mother-to-child Transmission Of Hiv In Athi River Sub-location Of Mavoko Constituency, Machakos County
This study explored male attitudes on involvement in antenatal care (ANC) with specific reference to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in Athi River sublocation of Mavoko Constituency, Machakos County in Kenya. The objective was to explore the factors that encourage or hinder men in participating in ANC and PMTCT, given that previous research has indicated that their involvement plays a key role in ensuring the well-being of their HIV positive spouses, the expected baby and the community and nation at large. Involving men in PMTCT is now part of national and international policy guidelines. The study adopted the descriptive and explanatory design and data was collected through FGDs and KIIs between August and November, 2013. Overall, a total of four FGDs were conducted composed of women attending ANC and PMTCT without their spouses, women attending ANC and PMTCT programs with their spouses, men whose wives are enrolled in PMTCT programs but were not accompanying them and men who accompanied their wives to ANC and PMTCT programs. Two KIIs interviews were conducted for three doctors and three nurses. Data collected from the two methods included male attitudes, perceptions and concerns towards male involvement and participation in ANC and PMTCT and factors that hinder or encourage male involvement. Thematic Analysis was used to analyze the qualitative information. The study findings indicate that though some men are involved in ANC and PMTCT, majority of them were not, sighting deterrents such as interference with their income generating activities, social and cultural beliefs, men’s superiority complex, ignorance, more focus on women in the health facilities, barriers in reproductive health and negative attitudes of health personnel. A majority of the men were of the opinion that paying for the services was involvement enough and no further participation should be expected from them. They noted that to enhance their involvement, it would be important to decrease the amount of time spent in the health facilities, enhance awareness and sensitization of men on values the whole family would derive from their involvement and participation, create awareness on retrogressive social and cultural norms, and implement a comprehensive training of health personnel in handling delicate medical issues such as HIV and AIDS. In conclusion, there is an urgent need to distribute and make available the government policies and strategies that relate to ANC, HIV and PMTCT to all who need them.