Introduction: Male involvement in reproductive health is an essential component in promoting maternal and family health. In Nepal, men are not actively engaged in most maternal and child health (MCH) services nor in other reproductive health programs. There is a need to know about the understanding of key professionals in such practices. This study explores gendered perspectives among teachers and health professionals to understand the factors contributing to male involvement in reproductive health.
Methods: The data were collected through two focus group discussions (FGDs) and seven key informant interviews (KIIs). FGDs were held among male teachers of selected schools, and KIIs were conducted with health professionals of the health post of Bungamati, Lalitpur. An unstructured interview guide was used to explore their experiences and perceptions. All KIIs and FGDs were recorded, translated and transcribed verbatim.
Results: Findings show limited male involvement in reproductive health. Participants reported several hindering and challenging factors such as sociocultural and psychological norms, lack of education, and misinformation and dominance of female as health care providers in many MCH clinics. Perceived motivating factors included positive attitude in men, literacy and awareness, inclusion of reproductive health in school curriculum and certain incentives. Participants also recommended a range of strategies for increasing men's involvement in reproductive health in Nepal.
Conclusion: Men's education and attitude, knowledge and awareness, sociocultural factors, psychological factors, health system factors, and policies play important roles in male involvement in reproductive health. Programs on effective implementation of men involvement in reproductive health initiatives should address the barriers and challenges to men's supportive activities. This study also suggests increasing literacy of reproductive health among men that enhances their positivity and motivates them to participate in reproductive health services.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.