Bylaw On Male Involvement In Antenatal Services Pays Off In Kyenjojo

1748 Views Kyenjojo, Uganda

In short
According to the bylaw, men who dont accompany their wives pay a fine of 200,000 Shillings, face a jail term of three months or both.

A bylaw requiring men to accompany their wives for antenatal care services in Kyenjojo district is paying off. Last year, Bufujo and Nyakwanzi Sub Counties enacted the bylaw following reports that only a handful of men in the sub county escorted their expectant wives to health facilities.

According to the bylaw, men who don't accompany their wives pay a fine of 200,000 Shillings, face a jail term of three months or both.  The enforcement of the by-law has increased male involvement in maternal health services.

URN visited the maternity section of Bufujo health center III on Thursday and found 30 expectant mothers accompanied by their husbands for antenatal services.

Regina Mbabazi, a nurse at Bufujo health center III says that in the past several men considered escorting their expectant wives for antenatal care services a waste of time.

She says as a result, they missed out on vital tips that would help them to bring up healthy children. Mbabazi explains that during antenatal visits couples are given tips on reproductive health and are sensitized on the Prevention of Mother to Child HIV/ Aids transmission. 

At Nyakwanzi health center III, Catherine Baguma, a nurse says that every Tuesdays, more than 20 women who go for antenatal services are accompanied by their husbands. 

Baguma however says that some women abuse the practice by hiring men to escort them as their husbands to the health facility. 

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Dr. Julius Asaba, the in-charge reproductive health services Kyenjojo district says that the bylaw will in the next two months be implemented in the entire district.
He explains that in the past several men would delay to refer their wives to health facilities for help because they didn't know what to do. 

According to Asaba, some men shun accompanying their wives to hospitals for antenatal visits as they fear knowing their HIV status.
He says that in the near future, health facilities will start turning away women who show up at the hospital without their partners. 

However some of the men say it does not help sitting at the hospital with their expectant wives without money.

Moses Alituha, a resident of Bufujo trading center says he would have loved to be with his wife at the health facility, but he has to look for money for survival. 

Alituha, a boda boda motorist says his only source of income is riding his motor cycle. He says the more time he spends sitting at the hospital, the more customers he misses.

Last year, the Ministry of Health launched the National Male Involvement Strategy and Guidelines. 

The strategy emphasizes involvement of men to be part of healthy feeding, good sanitation, immunization, family planning and fighting malaria and HIV/AIDS.


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.