- Men fear getting tested for HIV/Aids
- Pregnant mothers not accompanied obtain letters from LCs to access services
- Some health workers lack skills in ante natal care services which scares couples
- Ministry of Health developed policy to improve ante natal care. Couples are served faster.
Maracha. Negative attitude of some men in the district towards accompanying their expectant spouses for antenatal clinics is frustrating efforts of health workers to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS.
This was disclosed by Pascal Amade the district HIV Focal Person during a recent HIV stake holders meeting today. “Our records for antenatal clinics indicate that more women than men turn up for voluntary counseling and testing for HIV. That means men still have that degree of stigma,” Ms Amade said.
She said most men fear to have the tests for HIV/Aids which results they do not want to know. A Mid wife in Nyadri Health center, Ms Betty Ayikoru said: “Most of our mothers come with letters from Lc’s and VHT’s telling us that their partners are not around. Does it mean that only men in Nyadri Sub-county are been taken to work as casual laborers in other places?”
Gertrude Inzikuru the midwife attached to Ovujo Health Center says majority of men in the area do not want to be tested for HIV/AIDS but some of them instead come with ready results. Maracha district HIV positivity rate stands at 0.4 percent.
“Some of these men claim they are tested somewhere and present the results to their spouses for onward submission to us. We can’t be sure of such results,” she said.
In Uganda, Antenatal care (ANC) services are characterized by poor attendance, poor counseling services and poor client-provider relations, with the quality being worse in rural areas. The quality of ANC is critical in enabling women and health workers identify risks and danger signs during pregnancy which should lead to appropriate action.
Russall Jurua the Principal Health Inspector of Maracha district says the health workers need to improve on their customer care services in order not to scare away these men. “Our health workers are lacking some skills. The communication bit especially focusing on customer care.” he said.
Modest Wadia the Assistant Chief Administrative Officer of Maracha district calls for dialogue meetings with the communities about the matter rather than punishing the expectant mother.
“If we resolve this year that male partners must accompany their spouses. If not, then the female partners may not be attended to. And the disadvantage comes back to the women,” Wadia said.