Involvement of Husbands in Antenatal Care in Ayivu County, Arua District.
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ABSTRACT The main objective of this study were: to determine the awareness among the husbands about the need for their wives to attend to ANC from trained personal, to describe the perception among husbands on ANC in Arua District and to identify factors influencing use of ANC from the men’s point of view. A descriptive cross-sectional study was carried out in Arua district north western Uganda between February and March 2001. A total of 78 husbands were interviewed using a semi structured questionnaire. The results revealed that the antenatal services were underutilized. The men were largely peasants (52.6%) with (43.6%) of them attaining primary level. The majority (96.2%) of men were currently married implying high need for involvement in anc. While most men (89.7%) had heard about ANC, the study revealed mixed perceptions about anc. Antenatal care is largely thought of as treatment of any complication that develop. It was revealed that men are not aware of what antenatal care comprised of with only (44.9%) able to mention two or more elements comprising antenatal care. Even then, those concepts are not clearly understood and husbands do not fully realize the importance of seeking antenatal health care from formal health units. The study also revealed that (11.4%) husbands knew at least three activities carried out in anc. This implies that the majority (78.9%) are not aware of their responsibilities in ANC activities. The study also showed that there is insufficient antenatal care visit for men in Arua district. For instance, the majority of men (53.8%) had ever accompanied their wives for antenatal care. Although most men (56.4%) had adequate knowledge about the importance of antenatal care, there was no significant difference between both groups (higher education <S1 and above> and lower education <P7 and below>) in their level of adequacy in knowledge about antenatal care. The major sources of information about ANC were wives (37.2%), health workers (20.5%) and radio (15.4%). In conclusion utilization of ANC was greatly influenced by the men’s perceptions, awareness and source of information. The wives were the main source of information about maternal health services. It was recommended that health workers should be equipped with fresh information through seminars in order to address men’s perception, awareness and information problems concerning their wives ANC attendance. There should also be room for both husbands and wives for attending antenatal care so that the husband can access information from the health care providers.