Male Engagement as a Strategy to Improve the Delivery and Utilization of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Services: Evidence from an Intervention in Odisha, India
Jean Christophe Fotso, Concern Worldwide U.S., Inc.
Linda Vesel, Concern Worldwide U.S., Inc.
Satyanarayan Mohanty, DCOR Consulting Private Ltd., Odisha
Ariel Higgins-Steele, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
Gender-based power inequalities in decision making around care-seeking have been acknowledged as a fundamental constraint to women’s access to reproductive health services. The aim of this study is to examine the influence of a male engagement project on the delivery and utilization of maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) care in a rural district of India. We use qualitative evaluation data from the project which consisted of recruiting and training male community health workers (CHWs) to complement the work of their female counterparts, targeting outreach to men as a way to extend community-based delivery of MNCH services. Our results show that male CHWs greatly complemented the work of female CHWs, especially with regard to access to facility delivery, attendance of Village Health and Nutrition Days, and awareness of men on MNCH. These findings highlight the potential of strategies that include male CHWs specially trained and equipped to engage with men.