Engaging Men and Boys in Maternal Health: Results From a Participatory Film Project in Maputo Province

Online Publication Date:
March 16, 2022
Publication Status:
Published Article MUSE Link:
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**Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) volume 16.4. All rights reserved.** ABSTRACT Background: Research has demonstrated that men often play a critical role in increasing access to and utilization of maternal health services. Improving male involvement in maternal health can contribute to better health outcomes for the mother, the newborn, and the father. Objectives: Assess barriers and facilitators for male involvement in maternal health in a local community in Mozambique and analyze perceived benefits and challenges of using a participatory approach. Methods: Participants engaged in a participatory video project involving different components: a workshop around gender norms, a video workshop, a filming phase, a feedback screening, and a dissemination phase of the final film. Qualitative data were gathered throughout the participatory process and analyzed thematically by an inductive approach. In addition, the participatory video framework was used to analyze the participatory process. Results and Discussion: Our research project showed that participants faced several barriers for their involvement in maternal health, including strong patriarchal gender norms in the community, unwelcoming healthcare facilities, and economic challenges. Facilitators for their engagement included a strong sense of responsibility for taking care of the family, the willingness to generate change among the younger generation and the valorization of women as equal partners. Our findings suggest that the project empowered the participants to take up a more active and supporting role in maternal health and inspire other men’s involvement. Conclusions and recommendations: The participatory approach used in our study helped to identify and tackle barriers for male involvement in maternal health at community level, and dissemination of findings. Community campaigns should consider both barriers and facilitators for more male involvement in maternal health. In addition, governments and program planners should invest on male-friendliness of health facilities and to minimize the incidence of bribery and other illegal practices for health services.