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Male Involvement in Pregnancy and Childbirth: A Qualitative Study in Rural Population in Awbare District of Somali Region of Ethiopia

Author(s): Olusola Oladeji, Abdifatah Elmi Farah, Bibilola Oladeji, Juweria Mohamed

Background: Male involvement in pregnancy and childbirth has been found to influence and improve pregnancy outcomes. The study aimed to explore men’s perception, experience and the factors that affect the involvement of men in pregnancy and childbirth.

Methods: The study was a cross-sectional descriptive survey using qualitative method conducted in rural population in Awbare district in Somali region, site for an intervention project. The study population were religious and traditional leaders and young men who were married, and their wives have delivered at least once. They were recruited through purposefully and respondents were identified and approached through snowball sampling. Data was collected through Key Informant Interview (KII) using semi structured open-ended interview guide conducted among 25 married male participants:10 religious’ leaders, 10 traditional leaders and 5 young men.

Results: The participants in the study demonstrated good knowledge of the benefits of pregnant women visiting the health facilities during pregnancy, child-birth and the possible complications that can occur when pregnant. The study identified socio-cultural practices, financial constraints, unavailability due to economic reasons and social habit of khat chewing as key barriers.

Conclusion: Initiatives to promote proactive male involvement should focus on religious and traditional leaders as advocates in addressing socio cultural practices and norms that affect men's involvement in maternal health and young men as advocates to influence their peers. However, drug prevention and control intervention should be included as supportive programs in the package of interventions to be provided to men.

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