Evaluation of a Male Engagement Intervention to Transform Gender Norms and Improve Family Planning and HIV Service Uptake in Kabale, Uganda

November 2017 - Structural Prevention

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Ghanotakis, E., Hoke, T., Wilcher, R., et al. Global Public Health (2017), 12(10):1297–1314, doi: 10.1080/17441692.2016.1168863.

This study examined a male engagement intervention that sought to change harmful gender norms, attitudes, and behaviors that influence women’s family planning (FP) and HIV service uptake in Uganda. In the community-based arm of the intervention, 32 men in the community were recruited to increase their male community members’ FP and HIV knowledge, encourage their use of health services, and reduce harmful gender norms. In the facility-based arm, HIV counseling and testing providers were trained to counsel both men and women on FP and provide HIV testing for couples. The Gender Equitable Men (GEM) scale measured the interventions’ impact. Post-intervention findings indicated some small, but significant shifts toward more equitable gender norms; but overall, the intervention did not create real changes in gender equity. There was little change in GEM items pertaining to childrearing responsibility, contraceptive decision-making, and women tolerating violence to keep their family together. However, respondents reported increases in condom use, HIV testing, discussions of contraception between partners, and health-seeking behaviors for themselves, and were more likely to accompany their partner to services. Future interventions should conduct a field test to inform adaptation before rollout, invest more time in training peer educators, and consider using existing community health workers as peer educators. 

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