Determinants of Male Partners’ Level Of Participation in Maternal and Child Wellbeing Programmes. A Case of Kiambu County, Kenya
Francis, Jane Kagendo
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Extensive research shows that responsibility for uptake of maternal and child wellbeing (MCW) services are a responsibility for both female and male partners but in most of the cases it is looked at as a female‟s. International development platforms and commitments have emphasised the need for male participation in the programmes considering the benefits associated with it and without which the programmes are doomed to fail. High maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rates have been associated with low male participation in programmes. In Kiambu County where the study was carried out, Kiambu strategic plan 2008-2012 had identified low (3%) male partner participation in the MCW programmes a challenge to successful implementation of the programmes. The main objective of this study was to determine factors that could be implied for their low level of participation. A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out in Kiambu County to establish existing relationships between the male partner‟s level of participation and the possible predictor variables. The study used random sampling to identify five sub-Counties to represent the County. Free sampling was used to identify mothers who reported to level four and level five hospitals for postnatal clinics. They introduced their male partners through snowballing technique. Male partners‟ consent for inclusion in the study was sought. Data was collected from one hundred and two male partners. Data cleaning, coding and analysis was done with aid of SPSS version 20.The results for effects of male partner‟s demographic characteristics on his level of participation revealed a significant negative relationship. Increase in male partner‟s age, length of stay in relationship and ordinal position of the child led to reduced probability of registering high level of participation. Increase in education level did not have a significant influence on their probability of registering a high participation. The results for effects of male partner‟s economic status and livelihood activities on his level of participation revealed a significant negative relationship. Increase in income levels was associated with decreased odds of high level of participation, while wage employment led to low odds of high level of participation. The results on effects of male partner‟s knowledge and awareness in the programmes on his level of participation were significant and positive. Male- partners‟ who had knowledge of the programmes and of their role in the programmes were more likely to register a high level of participation compared to those who did not have the knowledge. The results for effects of socio-cultural factors were significant and negative. Male partners who believed in cultural norms that were against the programmes were less likely to register a high level of participation. The results for effects of programme related factors on male partner level of participation revealed that male partners who had a negative perception of the programmes were less likely to register a high level of participation. The government should increase literacy levels in the general population as well as create awareness on role of male partner in the programmes. The Kiambu County government should also support male partner friendly and culture sensitive programmes. This may increase male-participation leading to reduction in maternal and child mortality and morbidity.