Involvement of male partners into perinatal care and PMTCT services
PMTCT programs have widely been established in Sub-Saharan Africa in the past decades. However, high drop-out within all steps of the PMTCT intervention process represents one of the major challenges in PMTCT implementation.
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Lacking female decision making authority regarding health matters and lack of support by male partners are being viewed as barriers for participation in PMTCT and other reproductive health services. On the contrary, programs that focus on both members of a couple during HIV-counseling and testing often show much better rates in participation and adherence. However, the involvement of male partners turned out to be rather difficult in this area, with partner participation rates mostly remaining below 5%. Therefore, a male-focused research project was conducted in the frame of a PMTCT program in Mbeya Region, Tanzania, to gain insights regarding men´s barriers to participation and strategies to better integrate them into such programs. Goal of this research was to identify attitudes and behaviors regarding male partner involvement in reproductive health services and to analyze them in the context of socio-cultural and structural aspects. In addition, a study among health care providers was conducted to evaluate their attitudes on male involvement within the PMTCT-offering health facilities. From this research, a set of actions was deducted to effectively increase male attendance rates in perinatal care and PMTCT services to improve the quality of this program in the long term.