Male involvement in maternal health care has been a big challenge in Malawi. Cultural beliefs and gender are the main factors that has contributed husbands not to play a responsible role in maternal health care with the purpose of safeguarding their wives and children’s wellbeing.
The situation affected efforts to uplift the lives of women living in the area of Traditional Authority Mwambo in Zomba where husband’s responsibility ended after impregnating their wives. A 39 year old Grant Kumtumanji from Mwambo village attest to this.
Kumtumanji got married in the year 2000 and now he has a family of 5 children, two girls and three boys. But according to him, he was never involved during the maternal care of his four children as he thought it was a usual women duties.
“I have grown up in a society where a woman look after of herself during and after pregnancy, men’s duty ends when the woman is pregnant,” he explained.
Kumtumanji added that like all men in his community, he had no knowledge on the importance of men supporting the wives during antenatal and postnatal.
But now the practice has changed after some interventions from Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO) a local Non-Government Organization which is implementing a UNICEF project called Every Woman Every Child (EWEC).
Kumtumanji said he has leant a lot on the issues of Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCH) through Tiyanjane radio listening club a structure which YONECO established to amplify community voice on the issues to do with RMNCH.
“It is unfortunate that I never supported my wife with the four children that we have but I have learnt that when both partners support each other in this time, they strengthen their bond, protect the wellbeing of the wife and the baby,” he concluded.