Sexual and Reproductive Health: The Impact of Technological and Communicational Advances on the Male Role

Sexual and Reproductive Health: The Impact of Technological and Communicational Advances on the Male Role

Maria de Fátima Martins (University of Minho, Portugal), Paula Cristina Remoaldo (University of Minho, Portugal) and Ana Paula Carvalho (Cávado II Gerês Cabreira, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3990-4.ch054
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

In Portugal, the Health Ministry’s family planning programmes have traditionally focused on women. However, the involvement of men in family planning is crucial to the promotion of equal opportunities in health. Recent advances in technology and the means of communication that support Sexual and Reproductive Health seemed to mark the beginning of a new era in family planning in which men and women could be equal partners in the decision making processes, but these hopes have not been realised. In this chapter, we present semi-structured interviews conducted with 66 men from the Northwest of Portugal between May and June 2010. The results show that 90% of the respondents consider their involvement in the vigilance of Sexual and Reproductive Health important. However, 83.3% have not, to date, participated in any kind of consultation for family planning. The results identify a need to create new strategies for the promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health among men, employing for example social marketing strategies, in which new technologies and certain means of communication could have an important role.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

The International Conference on Population and Development (CIPD), held in Cairo in 1994, considered Sexual and Reproductive Health to mean a state of complete well-being (physical, mental and social), and took into account not merely the absence of disease or illness, but all aspects relating to the reproductive system. Such a conception means that individuals must have a compensating and safe sexual life, and the capacity for reproduction when and how often they decide. This last condition assumes the right of every man and woman to have safe access to family planning and contraceptive methods of their choice, and also the right of every woman to access healthcare adequate to ensuring a safe pregnancy and childbirth. It also involves establishing the best opportunities for parents to raise healthy children (DGS, 2008).

For that purpose, family planning is now a priority in the area of healthcare relating to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH). The absence of good family planning exposes both women and men to risk, making them more vulnerable to ill-health.

In Portugal, the Health Ministry’s family planning programmes have traditionally been included on the Programme of Sexual and Reproductive Health, and the services of Reproductive Health have largely been concerned with women. However, the involvement of men is crucial to the promotion of equal opportunities in health. The main objective of the CIPD (1994) was the promotion of gender equality in all scopes of life, challenging and encouraging men to assume responsibility for their sexual and reproductive behaviour. Nevertheless, almost seventeen years later the role of men in reproductive health has remained almost unchanged. Despite the fact that current health policies focus on the relevance of the role of the couple, there are no studies which look at this issue in Portugal. Advances in technology and the other means of communication that support Sexual and Reproductive Health (e.g., 3D echography and other screening exams, flyers, videos), seemed to mark the beginning of a new era in which men and women could be equal partners in the decision making processes, but these hopes have not been realised.

The present chapter employs the results of qualitative research to attain the universe of meanings which allows for a more in depth analysis of the issue under study (Bodgan and Biklen, 1994; Minayo, 2007). The interview was chosen as the main tool for the investigation carried out between May and June 2010. Content analysis was selected to perform the analysis of the interviews conducted with 20 single men and 46 married men, all over 18 years of age. Due to limitations of time and cost, a non probabilistic sample was used (snowball technique). The main objectives of this investigation were:

  • To identify male involvement in SRH;

  • To know the meaning of srh for men;

  • To identify men’s perception of their participation in SRH;

  • To identify the reasons why men were or were not involved in Family Planning;

  • To know the men’s sources of information on Family Planning.

The results show that 90% of the men interviewed consider their involvement in the vigilance of Sexual and Reproductive Health important, seeing it as relating to physical as well as sexual well-being. In their opinion, family planning is a means to inform, watch over and plan a family. Nevertheless, 90% of them had not, to date, participated in any kind of consultation for family planning. The results identify a need to create new strategies for the promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health among men, employing for example social marketing strategies, in which new technologies and certain means of communication could have an important role.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Qualitative Study: As underlined by European Commission a qualitative study investigates “in depth the motivations, the feelings, the reactions of selected social groups towards a given subject or concept, by listening and analysing their way of expressing themselves in discussion groups or with non-directive interviews” (http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/quali_en.htm).

Family Planning: OMS (http://www.who.int/topics/family_planning/en/) definition says that it allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of involuntary infertility.

Sexual and Reproductive Health: A state of complete well-being (physical, mental and social), not merely the absence of disease or illness, but all aspects relating to the reproductive system.

Family Planning: OMS ( http://www.who.int/topics/family_planning/en/ ) definition says that it allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of involuntary infertility.

Sexual and Reproductive Health: A state of complete well-being (physical, mental and social), not merely the absence of disease or illness, but all aspects relating to the reproductive system.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT): Is the unified communications and the integration of telecommunications, computers, video cameras and photo to computer or Webcams, Home Recording CDs and DVDs. It includes also the different media to store and carry data such as USB keys, hard drives and memory cards which enable users to create, access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.

Qualitative Study: As underlined by European Commission a qualitative study investigates “in depth the motivations, the feelings, the reactions of selected social groups towards a given subject or concept, by listening and analysing their way of expressing themselves in discussion groups or with non-directive interviews” ( http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/quali_en.htm ).

Information and Communications Technology (ICT): Is the unified communications and the integration of telecommunications, computers, video cameras and photo to computer or Webcams, Home Recording CDs and DVDs. It includes also the different media to store and carry data such as USB keys, hard drives and memory cards which enable users to create, access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset