Journal Article

Integration of male and female reproductive health services in Bangladesh with an emphasis on increasing male participation and awareness

Over the last 30 years, family planning programs in Bangladesh have primarily focused on women. While government policy has been effective in influencing women to accept contraceptive methods, the role of men in family planning has been completely ignored. The aim of this study was to integrate male reproductive health services within the existing female-focused health care delivery system. The study used a quasi-experimental, non-equivalent control group design with eight clinics as intervention sites and four clinics as control sites. Interventions included training for service providers, elevating awareness about reproductive tract infections (RTIs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and providing RTI and STI health care services. Interventions resulted in a substantial rise of male clients in the experimental clinics. Nearly all male clients came in for treatment of general health problems. Only a small number of male clients requested RTI/STI services from the clinics. Urethral discharge was the most common complaint among males. An unexpected and substantial rise in the number of female clients was observed, most likely due to the synergistic effects of interventions.