In its quest to improve maternal and child health, CHS advocates for male involvement in reproductive health. Through the “Egemesha Wanawake Wetu” (Swahili for “Support Our Women”) initiative, CHS seeks to engage expecting fathers in family health from their partners’ pregnancy through delivery and beyond. The program seeks to demystify gender roles as defined in the African context and encourages men to help their wives and participate actively in their reproductive health.
Peter Ndirangu, a boda-boda (motorcycle taxi) operator whose wife recently delivered twins, is delighted that the program has changed him: to appreciate his wife more and to provide meaningful support to her and the family during and after the pregnancy. He acknowledges that he previously associated most household related activities with women and would never have imagined performing them himself.
In the past, Peter would engage relatives to take care of his wife and to help in keeping the house in order after delivery. He now considers all that unnecessary and notes, ‘Since my wife gave birth, I do everything in the house including cleaning, taking care of the children and taking them to school. He also actively supported his wife during her pregnancy; accompanying her for ante-natal clinics and ensuring that she had a balanced diet. “I come home early and I am always happy to help my wife. I like it that my wife and family are happy. Coming for this training has been a great gain for me unlike for others who may consider it as a waste of time.” Peter urges other fathers to take up the bold step of active involvement in maternal and child health in order to promote the health of mothers and children.
“I like it that my wife and family are happy”
Peter Ndirangu, Nyahururu Male Involvement Class