Male involvement in HIV prevention and response
The dialogue was attended by over 100 community members who had brought their cattle for dipping, a majority of which were men.
Eswatini Nazarene Health Institutions (ENHI) with support from UNICEF is facilitating community meetings aimed at mobilizing men to support their families to utilize health services provided through facilities and outreach services.
“ENHI with support from UNICEF has already reached out to 10 communities. Recognising that men are usually busy with other community affairs and hardly have time to go to health facilities, we adopted a strategy of reaching out to the men when they bring their cattle to the dip tank”, said Agatha Mamba – Community health services Matron at ENHI.
The theme of the dialogue is “Men build a good relationship with your family. Engage in open dialogue. Know your HIV status and support each other”
On Tuesday 2nd May, a team of nurses from ENHI facilities was joined by UNICEF team to facilitate a community dialogue at Mhlamanti dip tank in Ngculwini community in Manzini region. The dialogue was attended by over 100 community members who had brought their cattle for dipping, a majority of which were men.
The participants were separated into three groups ( men, women and youth) to discuss issues including lack of male involvement in health care, adolescent health, HIV prevention and the importance of knowing one’s HIV status.
Speaking on behalf of Mhlamanti community, Mr Macedane Shongwe appreciated the support from Nazarene Health facilities and UNICEF especially because as men they hardly find time to discuss health issues with their families and are also facing challenges raising children. “We appreciate the advice provided to us today and we are determined to take up our leadership role as heads of households and lead our families to access health services”, said Mr Shongwe.
The men’s group highlighted that health facilities are not male friendly and they challenged the nurses to strategise on how they can ensure that health services are responsive to male needs.
A group of 40 adolescent boys and girls who also participated at the dialogue acknowledged that most young people engage in unprotected sex early because of peer pressure to engage in risky behavior including having sex without condoms.
Mr Makhosini Mamba- Health Specialist at UNICEF encouraged men to assume their leadership role in the family starting from ensuring that children are fully vaccinated and everyone in the family is tested for HIV. “Men should be concerned about the health of their families and should provide support and even accompany family members to the health facility. The health of the family is the health of the community and therefore the health of the nation,” Mamba said.
Other services provided during the dialogue include HIV testing and treatment of minor ailments. The dialogues will continue in other communities around ENHI clinics.
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