A study conducted by a PhD student at College of Medicine (CoM) Maria Chikalipo has underscored the need for male involvement in antenatal education.
She said male involvement and participation in antenatal education has a positive impact on women as far as birth preparedness is concerned.
However, Chikalipo’s study established that in Malawi, it is rare for men to take part in antenatal education; hence, the need to intensify awareness among men to highlight the importance of taking part.
Speaking in an interview on Friday after making a presentation on her study findings at CoM, a constituent college of the University of Malawi (Unuima), Chikalipo, who is also a lecturer in maternal and child health at Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN), said awareness is key among men as women feel a lot more comfortable if their spouses are with them during prebirth period.
“We need to increase awareness among men through different forums like at football matches, drinking joints and many places where men gather and even in communities through village heads,” she said.
Besides, Chikalipo also pointed out that when encouraging men to take part in antenatal education with their spouses, their participation in whatever is happening is important apart from merely escorting them.
She said being a seasoned midwife, an educator and being in numerous leadership positions motivated her to conduct such a study as she noticed gaps in relation to best maternal practices, one of which is the birth preparedness.
The study was conducted in Blantyre District in areas such as Mpemba, South Lunzu, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Blantyre District Health Office and KCN from February to August 2016.
The study states that globally, antenatal education has focused more on women but recently, male involvement in maternal health services, including antenatal education, has been advocated.
“This argument is supported by the rationale that men are likely to participate in maternal and child health issues and fulfill their supportive roles as husbands and partners if they are knowledgeable about pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting,” reads in part the study.