Contribution of Men in Safe Motherhood: A Case of Dodoma Municipality

Contribution of Men in Safe Motherhood: A Case of Dodoma Municipality

Vincent Sebastian Pande (Moshi Co-Operative University (MoCU), Moshi, Tanzania)
DOI: 10.4018/IJPPPHCE.2020010103


This study sought to ascertain the different ways in which men contribute to safe motherhood, particularly during pregnancy care. The main question was to what extent men play their roles during pregnancy care? In order to solve this question, the study employed simple random and purposive techniques to select a sample size of 165 respondents among the four selected wards in Dodoma Municipality. Questionnaires and interview methods were used to collect data from the selected respondents. Data analysis was done using statistical package for social sciences version 20 and the results were presented in tables. From the analysis, it was found that majority of men are beginning to take care of their wives during their pregnancy, supporting them on aspects of finance, emotional, and with advice. The findings further reveal that men still have little contribution on issues related to antenatal care visits. This implies that reproductive health education should be promoted to the community and to men in specific in order to raise their awareness and involvement in pregnancy care.
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1. Introduction

Safe motherhood refers to a situation in which no woman going through the physiological processes of pregnancy and childbirth suffers any injury or loses her life or that of the baby (Ruzegea, and Mansor, 2011). WHO, in addressing safe motherhood, provided four pillars: antenatal care, clean and safe delivery, essential obstetric care and family planning (Warren and Liambila, 2004). Safe motherhood was an international agenda, which was coined so as to catch phrase for maternal health. Its specific goal was to reduce maternal mortality by 50% by 2000 and 75% by 2015 (Family Care International, 2007). The reasons that cause women to die in pregnancy and childbirth are multi-factorial and multi-layered (WHO, 2001). Behind the medical causes such as haemorrhage, infection, unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders and obstructed labour, there are logistic causes such as failure in the health system and lack of transport (WHO, 2001); Pembe et al., 2008; Strong, 2010). Again, behind these are all the social, economic, cultural and political factors, which together determine the status of women and girls, their health, fertility and reproductive behaviour (Greene et al., 2006; Bankole et al., 2009).

In addressing the role of men in safe motherhood, PATH (2001) recommended that men could help in safe motherhood by providing resources and transport for ante-natal care (ANC), and accompany women there; by arranging for skilled attendance during delivery; by knowing the danger signs of complications and avoiding delays in decision making and transport; by ensuring good nutrition, rest and alleviating women’s workload during pregnancy and postpartum, as well as the related physical, financial and emotional support. These recommendations to a large extent have yet to be put into effect in many countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, though many have endorsed the issue of safe motherhood. Since men are socially and economically dominant especially in many parts of developing countries, they exert a strong influence over their wives, determining the timing and conditions of sexual relations, family size and access to health care (Green et al., 2006). In some societies, since men mediate women’s access to economic resources, women’s nutritional status, especially during pregnancy, may depend heavily on partners for the improvement of maternal health and reduction of maternal mortality (Nwokocha, 2007). This is particularly so in safe motherhood where men can play an essential role in providing vital safety to pregnant mothers and mothers in general. Unfortunately, men’s role has not been adequately addressed.

Studies show that during pregnancy and delivery, men can give important psychological and emotional support to the woman. This in turn has been shown to reduce pain, panic and exhaustion during delivery (Kunene et al., 2004). Some studies also show that men’s presence in the labour room shortens the period of labour and reduces the rate of epidural blockade (Iliyasu et al., 2010). Studies conducted in some parts of Asia and Africa show that in both routine care and treatment problems, husbands participated more often by paying for care than accompanying their wives (Roth and Mbizo, 2001). In India, studies indicate that husbands do ignore women’s health care during pregnancy, except for awareness of the need for antenatal registration and a nutritious diet (Raju and Leonard, 2000). This indicates that men play little part in reproductive health issues.

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