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Promote Male Involvement in Antenatal Care and PPTCT – Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Study

Port Moresby, 7 December, 2012: Male involvement and participation in antenatal and sexual reproductive health (SRH) services can contribute to improved use of Antenatal Care (ANC) and Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) services by pregnant women. 

According to key findings in a recent study conducted in PNG investigating community knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) relating to male involvement in antenatal care and PPTCT services, most expectant fathers do not attend antenatal clinics with their pregnant partners and men’s use of SRH services is quite low.

The KAP study, carried out by the Burnet Institute in partnership with the Catholic HIV/AIDS Services Inc (CHASI) under the leadership of the Department of Health with support from UNICEF, highlights evidence that while men agree it is important for women to attend ANC and PPTCT services, many factors contribute to preventing men from being involved while women participants in the survey highlighted that having a supporting husband promotes ANC attendance and freedom to access PPTCT services.

 “UNICEF is assisting the government of PNG to scale up programmes to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Treating HIV-positive pregnant women is essential to preserve their own health, to prevent transmission of the virus to their babies, and to prevent sexual transmission of HIV to their partners. We also support efforts to integrate better HIV services with other antenatal care platforms including routine child and maternal health programmes.” said Baba Danbappa, UNICEF Representative in PNG.

The 2011 Global HIV progress report states that few women and children in Papua New Guinea receive HIV treatment: only 12 per cent of HIV infected pregnant women receive PPTCT services. Although 62 per cent of adults and children in need of antiretroviral therapy have been started on treatment, only 24 per cent of eligible children have been reached 

Papua New Guinea, together with 52 other countries has signed off on the promise of commitment towards child Survival in a recent campaign entitled, “Committing to Child Survival: A Promised Renewed”.  Working to end new HIV infection among children by 2015 and keeping mothers alive is a key element of UNICEF’s commitment to child survival under this global movement.

The KAP study confirms a few interesting issues:

• Pregnant women are more likely to come to ANC if they have supportive husbands or if it is the first pregnancy
• Many men have genuine concerns for the health of their wives and unborn baby but need information to engage in seeking care for their pregnant spouse and partners. 
• Many men identify several barriers to their participation in ANC which include shame and embarrassment due to traditional beliefs and norms that ANC attendance is a women’s responsibility, male-unfriendliness of health facilities, attitude of health workers and varied ideas on appropriate timing of ANC consultations.

Among others, the following are key recommendations from this study:

• Sexual health information for males should give focus on their role in protecting their family.
• Community communication strategy should address the traditional belief and raise awareness of the benefits of husbands being involved in ANC
• The health service delivery system needs to be well resourced and provide a convenient environment for men to come for ANC and HIV services and couple counseling should be strengthened
• Policymakers and the service providers should address the barriers to women attending antenatal care and barriers to male involvement in ANC including ANC attendance related costs, infrastructure, barriers related to health personnel attitude and quality of services.


About UNICEF UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:

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For more information, please contact:
Tasmia Bashar, UNICEF PNG, Tel + 675.321.3000,
Noreen Chambers, UNICEF PNG, Tel + 675.321.3000,



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