Creating space for men at female-focused service delivery systems in rural areas in Bangladesh
Presentation at the American Public Health Association 136th Annual Meeting and Exposition, San Diego, 25-29 October
Mutahara,Marium ul; Rob,Ubaidur; Hena,Ismat Ara
Publication date: 2008
In general, men in Bangladesh have inadequate reproductive health (RH) knowledge and suffer from various RH problems including STIs and psychosexual disorders. They do not seek services from qualified service providers. The government health centers located in rural areas are female-focused and hence do not cater to the health needs of men. Findings from a needs assessment study showed that service providers at these facilities are not adequately trained to provide RH services. A quasi-experimental, separate sample pre-test/post-test design was adopted to evaluate the impact of targeted interventions to increase utilization of health services from the government health centers in rural areas by males. A total of 1,648 married men and 824 unmarried youth were interviewed to collect the required information. The key intervention was the capacity building of service providers and strengthening of health centers to provide male and youth-friendly services. In addition, a mechanism to involve community groups and peer promoters has been tested for establishing a provision for as well as promoting male and youth-friendly services. Several innovative behavior change communication activities have been introduced to raise awareness. Preliminary findings suggest that the attendance of male clients increased considerably without adversely affecting the utilization of services by women. Introduction of systematic screening helped to identify unmet needs of male clients. Awareness about the availability of male RH services among men and youth was substantially increased. In particular, peer promoters played a major role in motivating young men to receive services. Community support groups effectively carried out local-level planning and monitoring and supported project activities.