Exploring determinants of male involvement in PMTCT programs in chibombo district of central province of zambia
Introduction: The role that men can play in the prevention of HIV is cardinal in changing the course of the epidemic. When men take part in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, their knowledge of HIV increases, they become supportive to their partners and their response to HIV testing improves. The main aim of this study was to determine factors that influence male involvement in PMTCT programs in Chibombo district of Central Province in Zambia.
Methodology: The study was a cross sectional one conducted in Chibombo district in central province of Zambia. The information was collected from 240 male participants whose partners either had or had not attended ANC and PMTCT programs from 1st January, 2008 to 31st December, 2013 using a semi structured questionnaire, and from six focus group discussions (FGDs).
Results: The participants had a mean age of 35years, and that age was not statistically significant (p = 0.353). Factors such as education, and knowledge of PMTCT (P = 0.007and 0.01 respectively) had an association with men’s willingness to attend PMTCT programs. The occupation of respondents who were in formal employment was statistically significant (p= 0.026) indicating an association with male involvement in PMTCT programs. There was no association between age (p= 0.480), residence (p= 0.209), financial earnings (p =0.151) and PMTCT program attendance and only 134(58.3%) knew partners antenatal care (ANC) appointment. The majority of the respondents, 219(91.7%) indicated that they would accept couple counselling and testing during PMTCT programs.
Conclusion and Recommendations: The level of male involvement in PMTCT programs was associated with knowledge of PMTCT, occupation and education level of male partners. The willingness of males to get involved in PMTCT was low (63.7%) hence the need for more concerted effort to persuade men to be attending PMTCT programs. Findings from the focus group discussions revealed that there were individual, socio economic, health related factors that had an effect on men’s participation in PMTCT services, hence the need for community sensitization for men on the benefits of prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV and also that timing and what is offered during the programs should include men’s reproductive health needs.
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