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Male involvement for increasing the effectiveness of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programmes

During the past decade, national governments and international agencies have strengthened the implementation of prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programmes. However, many women still do not access these services. In 2010, there were 390,000 new HIV infections in children, 90% of which were infected through vertical transmission.  The fear of violence or abandonment by male partners, cultural gender rules and disparate decision making power for women are among the main reasons that women do not access PMTCT services. Hence, interventions should focus on promoting gender equality and improving male awareness and engagement in their families’ health in order to improve uptake of PMTCT services. In a systematic review published in the Cochrane Library,  Serena Brusamento and colleagues assessed the effectiveness of male involvement interventions on women’s uptake of PMTCT services in developing countries. They concluded that we need more studies assessing different interventions to improve male engagement in PMTCT to identify the most successful approach for women to safely access health care for their own health and to deliver HIV negative children.  

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