Male Involvement in PMTCT Services in Mbeya Region, Tanzania
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Throughout all stages of programmes for the prevention of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV (PMTCT), high dropout rates are common. Increased male involvement and couples’ joint HIV counselling/testing during antenatal care (ANC) seem crucial for improving PMTCT outcomes. Our study assessed male attitudes regarding partner involvement into ANC/PMTCT services in Mbeya Region, Tanzania, conducting 124 individual interviews and six focus group discussions. Almost all respondents generally supported PMTCT interventions. Mentioned barriers to ANC/PMTCT attendance included lacking information/knowledge, no time, neglected importance, the services representing a female responsibility, or fear of HIV-test results. Only few perceived couple HIV counselling/testing as disadvantageous. Among fathers who had refused previous ANC/PMTCT attendance, most had done so even though they were not perceiving a disadvantage about couple counselling/testing. The contradiction between men’s beneficial attitudes towards their involvement and low participation rates suggests that external barriers play a large role in this decision-making process and that partner’s needs should be more specifically addressed in ANC/PMTCT services.
KeywordsTanzania ANC PMTCT Male involvement Partner involvement
The authors would like to express their gratitude to all staff and clients of the involved health facilities in Mbeya Region, Tanzania. Special thanks are owed to Ms. Anna Kipera, Beauty Lwesya and Modesta Kiona, nursing officers at Mbeya Regional Hospital, who were greatly involved in the interviews and discussions. This study was conducted as a part of the GTZ Sector Project “Strengthening the German Contribution to the Global AIDS Response”.
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