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Rural Kenyan men’s awareness of danger signs of obstetric complications

A Dunn
S Haque
M Innes


Background: For many women in Kenya, their husbands act as gate-keepers to access of healthcare services. Awareness of the danger signs of obstetric complications is the essential first step in accepting appropriate and timely referral to obstetric care. The objectives of this study were to assess men’s awareness of the danger signs of obstetric complications, and to identify any associated demographic factors.
Methods: A crosssectional study using a non-validated questionnaire was completed by 167 men with a wife or partner that had been pregnant in the last 36 months. The study took place in Muhoroni, in the Nyanza province of Kenya. Statistical comparisons were done using Kruskal-Wallis, Mann-Whitney and the Spearman’s correlation coefficient.
Results: Men displayed good knowledge of the danger signs of obstetric complications (median, 9/10; range 0-10; IQR, 7-10), with 92.2% (n=154) of participants recognizing severe abdominal pain, 91.6% (n=153) recognizing absence of foetal movement, and 90.4% (n=151) recognizing long labour as obstetric danger signs. More educated participants were significantly more knowledgeable than less educated participants (Kruskal-Wallis H=14.47; df=3; p=0.002).
Conclusion: Participants were very proficient in identifying the danger signs of obstetric complications, with better knowledge in more educated men. Maternal mortality across Kenya remains high, however, so assessing knowledge nationally, and researching whether men are translating this knowledge into action would be recommended.

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eISSN: 1937-8688