Jefferys L.F., Nchimbi, P., Mbezi, P., et al. Reproductive Health (October 2015), 12(1), doi: 10.1186/s12978-015-0084-x.
This study in Mbeya Region, Tanzania assessed the acceptability and effectiveness of written invitations for male partners to attend joint antenatal care (ANC) and couples voluntary testing and counseling (CVCT). Data were collected from a prospective, longitudinal cohort at three health centers at different locations in Mbeya Region. ANC clients (n=318) received a letter inviting their partners to attend the next routine ANC visit, explaining that information on pregnancy, parenthood, and other important health issues would be given (but not mentioning HIV testing). Nearly all women who returned to the clinic (98%) reported handing the letter to their partners, and said that partners who received an invitation were supportive. Partner attendance rate ranged between 31 percent and 75.8 percent, and averaged 53.5 percent across all sites. When the partner attended a joint ANC session, 81 percent of the couples received CVCT, (in the remaining 19%, only the women tested). Women overall found the experience very positive—saying that the counselor was helpful (95%), the experience was good (91%), and there were no difficulties during mutual disclosure of HIV status (90%). The authors concluded that official invitation letters are a feasible intervention in a resource-limited sub-Saharan context, and an effective way to encourage men to attend ANC and CVCT.