Male Partner Involvement Highlighted in KZN Study on Pregnant Women
“Exploring male partner involvement regarding PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child-transmission services) in a selected primary health care facility in KwaZulu-Natal”, was the title of the thesis by Master of Nursing graduate, Ms Tamara Phiri.
With KwaZulu-Natal being the province worst affected in South Africa by the disease burden of HIV and AIDS - 38.7% of pregnant women attending antenatal clinics (ANC) tested positive for HIV in 2008 according to the South Africa National Department of Health - the lack of male partner involvement has been seen as a contributing factor to a poor programme adherence by women who are initiated into the prevention of mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) programme in South Africa.
In order to increase male partner involvement in the services, one of the strategies which may have an impact in the success of the programme has been approved.
Phiri’s study aimed to explore and describe male partner involvement in PMTCT services in a selected primary health care facility in KwaZulu-Natal. Five areas were investigated for the study to provide further data: demographic factors; knowledge; socio-cultural factors; programmatic factors; and the interrelationship between demographic factors, knowledge, socio-cultural factors and programmatic factors on male involvement in PMTCT.
‘A quantitative exploratory descriptive design was conducted in November 2012 at a selected primary health care facility in KwaZulu-Natal. Questionnaires were issued to 90 men. The study revealed some association between certain variables of interest and male involvement. ‘
Phiri’s study recommended that PMTCT programmes needed to boost their awareness strategies as a means of increasing male involvement in the services.
‘The results show that even though most of the participants indicated that they were aware of the PMTCT programme and seemed to want to do the right thing in supporting their partners, various demographic, socio-cultural and programmatic factors were hindering their participation. Also noted in the findings was that younger men and those with a higher education were more willing to be involved than those who were older or those with a lower level of education.’
In addition, the findings also show that the general perception of ANC/PMTCT as mainly feminine facilities also hindered the involvement of men in the services. Furthermore, the fact that men felt PMTCT services did little to engage them, and that health care workers did not invite men to participate in the services, also affected their participation in the services.
Phiri is working on further research projects. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, exercising, travelling, listening to music and watching movies, along with shopping and reading novels.- Zakia jeewa