Addressing Men's Concerns about Reproductive Health Services in a Rural Sahelian Setting of Northern Ghana: The “Zurugelu Approach”
Philip B. Adongo, Navrongo Health Research Centre
James F. Phillips, Columbia University
Colin Baynes, Columbia University and Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)
In Sahelian Africa, addressing contraceptive needs of women can precipitate anxiety among men. The Navrongo Community Health and Family Planning Project (CHFP) addressed gender challenges of introducing reproductive health services in such a setting with outreach with dialogue with chiefs, elders, lineage heads, and male social networks conducted in conjunction with convening community gatherings which mobilized male leadership systems for raising awareness and acceptance of family planning. Fertility trends observed during a trial suggest that combining nursing services with male mobilization methods produced significant effects on fertility. Outreach by nurses without male mobilization had no effect. The CHFP dissipated discord and empowered women to implement their reproductive preferences, ultimately contributing to fertility decline. Expanding access to family planning by posting nurses without gender strategies had no impact. Findings attest to the importance of mitigating the social costs of contraception to women by addressing the concerns and needs of men.