Addressing Men's Concerns about Reproductive Health Services in a Rural Community Mobilization Program

Philip B. Adongo, Navrongo Health Research Centre
Rofina Asuru, Navrongo Health Research Centre
Abraham Hodgson, Navrongo Health Research Centre
Ellie Feinglass, Population Council

In patriarchal African settings, addressing the contraceptive needs of women can precipitate anxiety and worry among men because marriage and customs are grounded in traditions that portray women as the property of male-dominated lineages. The Navrongo Community Health and Family Planning Project (CHFP) addresses the profoundly complex gender problems of a societal setting that exemplifies these customs. Beginning with careful outreach and dialogue with chiefs, elders, and lineage heads, the project established a program of community durbars for legitimizing reproductive health services. Community leaders were involved in explaining the program to men; male networks, social groups, and leadership systems were utilized to convey the message that family planning was appropriate for families. This paper reports on qualitative research that compares the views of men exposed and unexposed to the program. Results suggest that the CHFP has dissipated discord and empowered women, increasing contraceptive use and reducing fertility as a result.

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Presented in Session 145: Men's Reproductive Behavior