The Role of Men in Improving Maternal and Newborn Health in Burkina Faso

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Janet Perkins
Cecilia Capello
Aminata Bargo Maiga
Yanogo Matié
Amélie Eggertswyler
Carlo Santarelli


Background. As critical household and community gatekeepers in Burkina Faso, men play an important role in ensuring the care of women and newborns during the perinatal period. Enfants du Monde, Fondation pour le Développement Communautaire/Burkina Faso, the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) are supporting the national Ministry of Health to implement the health promotion pillar of the maternal and new born health (MNH) strategy.Objectives. Working with men to help them become active participants in MNH is one of the axes of these efforts. Methods. Interventions aiming at influencing the role of men in MNH have been implemented since 2010. Foremost among these is the implementation of a strategy entitled Pougsid Songo, or “Model Husbands”. Within this strategy, designed by health workers and community members, men who are exhibiting positive behaviours in supporting women are selected by local leaders and trained to educate other men in the community on care for women and newborns, on birth preparedness and complication readiness, on danger signs and postnatal family planning (FP) and on the need to accompany women to health services. Results. Preliminary results suggest that in particular due to the “Model Husbands” strategy, men are participating more actively in MNH. Notably, men are starting to accompany women to health facilities for antenatal care regularly and they are more aware of care practices for women during and after pregnancy and for newborns. In addition, utilization of MNH and FP services is increasing. Conclusions. These results suggest that interventions are successfully influencing men’s roles in MNH which is contributing to improved care of women and newborns within the household and increased utilization of MNH services.  

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