Husbands' experiences and perceptions regarding the use of maternity waiting homes in rural Zambia

Cephas Sialubanje, Karlijn Massar, Elisa M Kirch, Marit S G van der Pijl, Davidson H Hamer, Robert A C Ruiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To explore men's experience and beliefs regarding the use of maternity waiting homes (MWHs) in Kalomo District, Zambia.

METHODS: As part of a qualitative study, in-depth interviews with the husbands/partners of women attending the under-five clinic at a health center with a MWH were conducted between April 1 and May 31, 2014. Men aged 18-50 years whose partner/wife was of reproductive age and who had lived in the area for more than 6 months were eligible for inclusion.

RESULTS: Overall, 24 husbands/partners were interviewed in seven rural health centers. Men perceived many potential benefits of MWHs, including improved access to facility-based skilled delivery services and treatment in case of labor complications. Their many roles included decision making and securing funds for transport, food, cleaning materials, and clothes for the mother and the neonate to use during and after labor. However, limited financial resources made it difficult for them to provide for their wives and newborns, and usually led to delays in their decisions about MWH use. Poor conditions in MWHs and the lack of basic social and healthcare needs meant some men had forbidden their wives/partners from using the facilities.

CONCLUSION: Important intervention targets for improving access to MWHs and skilled birth attendance have been identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-11
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Maternal Health Services/organization & administration
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care/methods
  • Residential Facilities
  • Rural Health Services/organization & administration
  • Rural Population
  • Spouses/psychology
  • Young Adult
  • Zambia

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