Access to maternal-child health and HIV services for women in North-Central Nigeria: A qualitative exploration of the male partner perspective
PublisherPublic Library of Science
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AbstractBackground In much of sub-Saharan Africa, male partners play influential roles in women's access to maternal-child healthcare, including prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services. We explored male partner perspectives on women's access to maternal-child healthcare in North-Central Nigeria. Methods Three focus groups were conducted with 30 men, purposefully-selected on the basis of being married, and rural or urban residence. Major themes explored were men's maternal-child health knowledge, gender power dynamics in women's access to healthcare, and peer support for pregnant and postpartum women. Data were manually analyzed using Grounded Theory, which involves constructing theories out of data collected, rather than applying pre-formed theories. Results Mean participant age was 48.3 years, with 36.7% aged <40 years, 46.7% between 41 and 60 years, and 16.6% over 60 years old. Religious affiliation was self-reported; 60% of participants were Muslim and 40% were Christian. There was consensus on the acceptability of maternal-child health services and their importance for optimal maternal-infant outcomes. Citing underlying patriarchal norms, participants acknowledged that men had more influence in family health decision-making than women. However, positive interpersonal couple relationships were thought to facilitate equitable decision-making among couples. Financial constraints, male-unfriendly clinics and poor healthcare worker attitudes were major barriers to women's access and male partner involvement. The provision of psychosocial and maternal peer support from trained women was deemed highly acceptable for both HIV-positive and HIV-negative women. Conclusions Strategic engagement of community leaders, including traditional and religious leaders, is needed to address harmful norms and practices underlying gender inequity in health decision-making. Gender mainstreaming, where the needs and concerns of both men and women are considered, should be applied in maternal-child healthcare education and delivery. Clinic fee reductions or elimination can facilitate service access. Finally, professional organizations can do more to reinforce respectful maternity care among healthcare workers. Copyright 2020 Al-Mujtaba et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
SponsorsThe MoMent Nigeria study was funded by the World Health Organization through award WHO RPC 531 to NASA, for the INtegrating and Scaling up PMTCT through Implementation REsearch (INSPIRE) initiative from Global Affairs Canada. https://www.who.int/hiv/pub/journal_ articles/inspire-intro/en/
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/14545