Percent of men (husbands) who are supportive of their partners’ reproductive health practices
The percent of males who support their partners‘ reproductive health (RH) practices
This indicator is calculated as:
(# of males who support their partners‘ RH practices/Total # of men surveyed) x 100
“Supportive” can be operationally defined in several different ways, including attitudes toward specific behaviors (e.g., contraceptive use), responses to hypothetical situations, and reported actions/behaviors.
“RH practices” refers to the behaviors that RH programs promote (e.g., often the objective of the program): contraceptive use, breastfeeding, delivery in the presence of a skilled birth attendant, and so forth.
Responses to structured or in-depth interviews
Surveys among the male clientele at health facilities or other men‘s RH sites (program-based) or among the men in the general public (population-based). Alternative sources are surveys among the wives of participants in male-focused programs.
One way a man can become “involved” in RH is by supporting his wife/partner in her practice of desirable health behaviors. Although some argue that this type of involvement does not go “far enough,” in societies where males have withheld such support, this involvement can represent an important step forward.
Evaluators can assess men‘s level of support for women‘s RH practices using three types of questions: attitudes, responses to hypothetical situations, and reported actions. Illustrative questions of each type are presented below. One expects that these responses will become more favorable as a result of interventions directed toward male involvement.
Illustrative Items for Measuring Men‘s Support of Their Wife‘s/Partner‘s RH Practices
Do you approve or disapprove of your wife/partner:
(a) Using a contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy?
(b) Receiving antenatal care during pregnancy?
(c) Having a trained birth attendant present at delivery?
(d) Breastfeeding your baby?
The answers to this set of questions are subject to bias, especially if men are aware that their attitudes or behaviors deviate from socially accepted responses. The best solution to this problem is for the interviewers to ask these questions in a matter-of-fact way. An alternative approach is to interview women about their husbands’ attitudes and behaviors vis-à-vis family planning, safe pregnancy, delivery, STI/HIV risk, and other prevention behaviors. However, such accounts may be biased if the wives know that their husbands participate in the male-focused activities and thus “anticipate“ changes in their behavior.
attitude, male engagement