We leave half the population behind when sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services don’t include men. And it impacts how the other half of the population – women and girls– can take charge of their health and lives.

Multiple factors hinder men’s involvement in contraceptive communication, including:

  1. Prevailing negative social norms, including associating masculinity with larger family size
  2. Limited knowledge and rampant misinformation about contraception
  3. SRH campaigns are not inclusive of men and boys
  4. Health clinics that provide SRH are not comfortable for men to visit, with extended wait times, and health providers who are not trained to counsel men in contraception or may have negative attitudes about their presence
  5. Unequal power relations, between men and women, with men being primary decision makers

In Uganda, akin to many countries, SRH information is primarily directed at women.  Leaving men out of the SRH conversation hinders couples from comfortably talking about the big (often taboo) SRH topics, and navigating hard conversations around SRH preferences.

PSI Uganda, through a project with Maverick Next, are bridging the gaps.

Utilizing social and behavior change (SBC) interventions, we’re reaching men where they’re at, and how they need. Specifically:

  1. In-person communication workshops through bimeeza (community dialogues); bufumbo college (couples’ communication college); and workplace discussions.
  2. Media messaging through FM radio campaigns, and a radio drama series, Tuteese.
  3. Reference materials for influencers and communities.

These multifaceted strategies aim to break down barriers and promote open communication within couples, contributing to improved family planning dynamics in Uganda’s Wakiso district.

Read the full article about sexual and reproductive health programs by Sarah Lagot Odwong at PSI.