The Observer (Kampala)

18 September 2012

Uganda: FHI360/Progress Supports Male Engagement in Family Planning

opinion

Men's involvement in family planning can improve gender equality and increase contraceptive uptake, but most family planning programmes target only women.

FHI 360 through the PROGRESS project is supporting interventions that foster conversations about men and family planning, identify new approaches for engaging men in family planning, and promote acceptance and use of safe and effective contraceptive methods for men.

With funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), FHI 360 Uganda supports the use and availability of safe, effective, and affordable technologies that prevent unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. FHI 360 builds national capacity to implement FP/RH policy and training, and gives individual family planning providers tools to help them educate men and women about their contraceptive options so they can decide which method is best for them.

Together with the Uganda ministry of Health, FHI 360 is working to improve couples' access to a wide range of family planning methods at the community level through Village Health Teams (VHTs).

VHTs have facilitated male involvement into family planning services by intensifying sensitization of men in their communities. This has contributed to men's change of attitude towards family planning services and as a result, men escort their wives to seek FP services from VHTs. As narrated by a VHT:

"At the beginning, men were unsupportive of family planning. We continuously educated them on the benefits of FP during community gatherings, including one-on-one casual talks. Men are now changed and responsive to FP. Some men escort their partners for services while others pick contraceptive pills for their partners."

FHI 360 continues to collect and disseminate data on the acceptability and scale-up of gender responsive family planning programmes at the policy, provider, and patient levels to evaluate challenges and facilitators of scale-up.

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