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The role of family support groups in improving male involvement in PMTCT programs

Beatrice Muwa, Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD)
Alex Mugume, Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD)
Lydia Buzaalirwa, Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD)
Xavier Nsabagasani, Uganda Programme for Human and Holistic Development (UPHOLD)
Peter Kintu, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

Involvement of spouses and families is crucial for compliance to HIV interventions including prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), as men wield financial and social power for their families. JSI/UPHOLD, a USAID-funded program working in 28 districts of Uganda, supports Family Support Groups (FSGs) to enhance male involvement in PMTCT. Through FSGs, HIV positive pregnant mothers are supported to cope with their status and disclosure to their spouses and children. 18 FGDs were held with clients enrolled with FSGs to explore members’ knowledge and spouses’ attitudes. Reported achievements of the initiative were: more support from men who joined FSG to their pregnant spouses; increased communication and cooperation between the spouses; better birth planning; and improved adherence to Nevirapine and infant feeding options. FSGs are a good approach for targeting couples before and after pregnancy, and women who come for antenatal care visits should be encouraged to come with their spouses.

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Presented in Session 35: Family and Child Health