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Male Involvement in Maternal Health

Rovea Ernazelle G. Austria, Carl Abelardo T. Antonio

Abstract


Traditionally, programs related to maternal health are regarded as purely a woman's domain. Nevertheless, the role of the male as the decision maker in the household gave way to the recognition of the male's role in maternal and reproductive health. This paper aimed to provide a review on male involvement strategies and their impact on maternal health based on related studies, discuss the strategies in the Philippine context and suggest interventions given the current state of the Philippine health care system. These strategies utilize the decision-making role of the male by positing itself on the reproductive, sexual and maternal health aspects encompassing important factors, such as birth spacing, first pregnancy, family planning, utilization of skilled birth attendants (SBAs), and delivery in health facilities, antenatal and postpartum care and nutrition. However, negative repercussions include stigmatization of single mothers and reinforcement of the notion of a man's control over a woman's body. Given the current state of the Philippine health care system, the suggested interventions try to veer away from it as much as possible. These include integration of the male involvement strategy into the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), coursing it through a public-private partnership (PPP) and non-government organizations (NGOs), involvement of educational institutions, strengthening of the health service delivery at the grassroots level, reinforcement of existing laws, and research on its institutionalization. With carefully-planned strategies that recognize existing gender norms and other sociocultural factors, male involvement in maternal health could be a possible catalyst in decreasing the Philippine maternal mortality rate (MMR).


Keywords


male involvement, maternal health

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