In our daily work and struggles as young people of Nigeria to ensure that we end the deaths of mothers at time of pregnancy and delivery. The TFCH founder and her team has identified men as the key stakeholders to improve pregnancy and delivery out comes.
If men were to be the ones carrying pregnancy, regularly visiting delivery rooms and even facing the challenges women face during this period, I am sure more commitment and action would have been put in place to end the global the burden and certainly the worlds record on mortality and morbidity rate wouldn’t have been high at all
A woman cannot be pregnant except there is a sexual intercourse between man and woman. Once a woman becomes pregnant she is enrolled into ANC to learn all do’s and don’ts in pregnancy throughout the nine months .What happens to the man ? is he mentored on his role to ensure that his wife survives pregnancy and delivery? . Most men do not know how long a full term pregnancy takes, still they are expecting up to their 6th child, and some men do not keep track of their wives gestational age until the the child is delivered.
SEE HOW THE SCHOOL OF HUSBAND HAS IMPROVED THE KNOWLEDGE OF MEN ON MNCH IN BWARI
We started a program to actively involve men in MNCH programs few months ago, after we discovered acceptance to family planning was getting more difficult by the day , due to husbands refusal believing that “ children are gift God and therefore should not be by choice”.
Prior to setting up “the school of husbands” we did a survey in the community to know the leading cause towards lack of access to quality maternal , newborn and child health services (MNCH), FP ,and other reproductive health services generally.
In All , the barriers to low support from husbands were attributed to culture, religion, poverty, illiteracy , taboo, lack of interest etc. These barriers indeed contribute both directly and indirectly to the poor maternal health situation in the country.
The truth is that, men are not involved in MNCH programs, so how do we even expect them to know what family planning means and how it can help reduce maternal and infant mortality burden in Nigeria. First I think it’s totally wrong to keep talking to women alone about family planning. We don’t expect a man sitting at home without any knowledge on FP, to agree instantly on what the wife says concerning any choice of family planning.
THE IMPACT OF THE SCHOOL OF HUSBANDS
The school of husbands which is open for both married and single men from age 18years and above started few months ago. The school provides learning opportunity for men to improve their knowledge on reproductive health: At every meeting, new topics are discussed ranging from reproductive organs and its role, pregnancy and delivery, family planning, nutrition, HIV/Aids, danger signs in pregnancy, signs of labor , immunization and its schedule , childhood illnesses, and preparation of ORS etc.
We are happy to see how the number of our “students” gradually increases by the day. The men goes out now to share the new knowledge, sensitize and getting others to join.
At the beginning it was not easy at all, because the community men saw it as great taboo to be mentioning (sex, penis and vagina) we wereseen as vulgar and irresponsible, until they began to gain good knowledge on reproductive health it was no longer a taboo.
Today we have many men working as community health volunteers, after undergoing additional trainings and some more men are willing to join. They are taking the lead now in creating awareness on importance of ANC and health facility delivery, family planning, HIV testing and counseling.
It so amazing to see how this innovation has brought about positive behavioral changes in men towards promoting reproductive health and rights within their communities.
Now the men here now participate in at least one Ante-natal class with their wives to show support…how amazing