Barriers to husbands├ó┬?┬? involvement in maternal health care in a rural setting in Malawi: a qualitative study.


Lucy I. Kululanga, Johanne Sundby, Ellen Chirwa, Address Malata and Alfred Maluwa

Factors that hinder husbands from participating in maternal health care are well documented. Nevertheless, very little research has been conducted in Malawi to understand the core causes of such barriers. Therefore, this study was conducted in Mwanza District in southern Malawi to examine the core causes of barriers to husbands’ involvement in maternal health care in rural Malawian settings. Data was collected through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The study revealed two main causes of barriers to husband involvement in maternal health care; gender role norms and health system issues. The prevailing gender role norms influence husband participation in maternal health care, and are also reflected in maternal health care delivery system in the rural health facilities in Malawi, whereby, the services are female focused. Therefore, husbands find it difficult to get involved in their spouses’ maternal health care. However, husbands’ involvement in maternal health care is possible if the causes of barriers were surmounted. Therefore, it is recommended that maternal health care services need to be de-feminized in order to create the foundations for a more equal access by both women and men.

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