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Redefining macho: men as partners in reproductive health.

Authors
  • Clift, E
Type
Published Article
Journal
Perspectives in health : the magazine of the Pan American Health Organization
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1997
Volume
2
Issue
2
Pages
20–25
Identifiers
PMID: 12295181
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Traditionally, family planning (FP) programs and reproductive health (RH) services have neglected the potential role that men can play in contributing to their family's well-being. Programs that promote male involvement, male responsibility, and men's participation in RH gained ground in the 1990s, however. Recent surveys have indicated that men are more interested in and supportive of FP than has been assumed and have their own unmet reproductive and sexual health needs. Understanding the larger gender dimensions of male involvement in these realms has led to new strategies for ensuring an environment in which women gain control over their lives with the support of men. Male-oriented FP programs have been instrumental in increasing men's participation in RH by providing an environment in which they can overcome their fears and receive informed answers to their questions. Experience suggests that male involvement in RH is increased when sexually transmitted disease programs are offered through maternal-child health or FP programs and when the couple, rather than the woman, is the unit of care. Educating young men before they become sexually active and social norms are ingrained is also important. As gender barriers break down, the opportunities for effective partner communication, shared decision-making, and equality will increase.

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