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Background: The successes and failures of health policies and programs to motivate men to develop interest in positive decision making and actions relating to reproductive and child health services (RCHs) in Tanzania are inadequately documented. Therefore, a study was done to explore the health facility readiness for motivating men to effectively participate in RCHs including family Planning (FP) in Kibaha District.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional qualitative study undertaken in 2014 and involving in-depth interviews (IDIs) with frontline RCH providers at selected health facilities (HFs) and their district coordinator. Data were transcribed verbatim, coded and evaluated thematically through a narrative analysis approach.
Results: All the respondents admitted the role of men in influencing FP decisions at family and other community levels and the need for engaging them in RCHs. They all reported to have continued to note an increasing attitude and activeness of men to attend the RCH facilities available for RCHs along with their partners despite the remaining ones who still show hesitance. FP interventions supported by the District Council Authority and development partners were reported to contribute in increasing the number of males coming for FP and other RCHs. Nevertheless, some shortcomings were experienced, and were reported to include some HFs providing FP services on selected week days which limit the clients who would need them any day/time; some dispensaries lacking adequate lounges or consultation room spaces for accommodating clients arriving in couples or who would be held for receiving health education in group; and the occasional stock-outs of essential FP commodities and other RCHs at some of the HFs.
Conclusions: The study reveals the pleasure frontline RCHs staff had after observing an increasing trend in male involvement in such services and the support given by the government and its allied stakeholders to make this a success. However, the prevailing deficiencies relating to HF infrastructure and FP commodity supplies need to be addressed if a universal health coverage for FP and other RCHs were to be attained as policy and program- wise advocated.