From the periphery to the fore Men at the Centre of Improving Access to Reproductive, Child and Maternal Health in Northern Uganda
The twenty-year old Kony war had devastating effects on the physical, social, economic and political wellbeing of the people in northern Uganda and more significantly in the health area. Women and girls were mostly affected by the conflict and continue to face enormous challenges accessing sexual reproductive, and maternal and child health care. There is inadequate
services compounded by a breakdown in the social fabric and the distortion of social norms, entangled with patriarchal society that would otherwise regulate gender equity in the communities.
Compounding to the problem, men consciously and unconsciously impede access to basic services for women and adolescents such as family planning services, HIV testing, participation in maternal health issues and support to infant feeding practices. Men often neglect their roles as fathers in the care of their infants. Adolescent males and females endure societal taboos that bar them from discussing issues around sexuality, and the disintegration of traditional family structures has impeded youth’s access to older relatives who might have mentored them on the sexuality. Adolescent males experience developmental changes, and are also susceptible to social pressures around gender norms and sexuality. Without access to appropriate and comprehensive information on Sexual and Reproductive Health, they cannot uphold their own health as well as respect and be nonviolent towards female partners.