Factors affecting male involvement in family health days at places of worship in Fort Portal Municipality, Kabarole District, Western Uganda
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Introduction/background: Uganda has a high maternal and child mortality and is struggling to achieve millennium development goals 4 and 5 by 2015 and one of the reasons for this is low male partner involvement in Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health (RMCH) services. Family Health Days (FHDs) is a new program aimed at accelerating progress towards MDGs 4 and 5 by providing a preventive package of RMCH services at places of worship. This study aimed at establishing the level of male partner knowledge and involvement in FHDs and assessing the factors affecting male involvement in FHDs in Fort portal municipality, Kabarole district. Methods: This was across-sectional survey employing a mixed methods approach. The quantitative arm used multi stage cluster sampling to obtain a representative sample of 353 men who were interviewed using a semi-structured interviewer administered questionnaire. A male involvement index was constructed based on 6 questions to assess the outcome variable (level of male involvement).The data obtained was analysed using STATA version 12.The qualitative arm consisted of 3Focusgroup discussions among women who were either pregnant and/or had a child under 5 years and 6 key informant interviews among the district health team, religious leaders and community leaders. The qualitative data obtained was analysed by sorting it into themes based on objectives of the study. Results: About half (49%) of the men had a high knowledge index score while 56% had a high male involvement score. Above four fifth had ever heard of FHDs and the main source of information was the place of worship (46%). Although many (59%) knew that FHDs were offered at places of worship, 38% thought that they were offered from health facilities. Majority (73%) knew that the services were for the whole family and almost all (98%) knew at least one service offered during FHDs. Up to 77% had ever attended FHDs although 65% were not aware of the month for the next round of FHDs. Of those who attended, less than half had received the direct services for men. After multivariable logistic regression, men residing with their partners, salary earners and businessmen, those with high level of knowledge of the services and those who perceived RMCH services as a role for both partners were more likely to get involved in FHDs. Most of the common health service related factors that hinder male involvement were not significant. Conclusion/Recommendations: Generally, men had good knowledge and were fairly involved in FHDs compared to other RMCH services offered elsewhere and the main reasons for this could be the convenience of the place of worship in terms of site, direct benefits for men, absence of the need to move and convenient timing. Therefore since the services seem to be convenient for men, the FHD implementers need to tailor male specific messages that will further encourage male involvement.