By MELUSE KAPATAMOYO
Enedi Malambo, 38, is a mother of seven and is currently carrying another pregnancy due in three months.
During all the previous seven pregnancies, her husband has never accompanied her to the Ante-Natal Care (ANC) clinic. But the eighth one is exceptional in more ways than one.
“Since my first ante-natal appointment (during this pregnancy), my husband has been coming with me to the clinic. Before, he used to refuse,” says Enedi of Kembe area, some 70km off the Great North Road in Chibombo district.
She smiles and adds that “not once did he escort me to the clinic when I was pregnant with my other (seven) children. But now that nurses insist on pregnant women coming with their husbands, he had no choice but to come with me to the clinic.”
Enedi is happy over the involvement of her husband in her current pregnancy. She says it has given him extra insight into the intricacies of pregnancy care and as such they are now able to communicate better about her health needs.
In the past men were not obliged to accompany their pregnant wives for ante-natal check-ups. Currently most public health institutions are asking men to be fully involved in the affairs of their expecting wives.
Pregnant women and their husbands undergo couple HIV Counseling and Testing services. In the event of both or either of them being found HIV positive, the couple can then be counseled on how to manage the infection and ensure they protect themselves from re-infection.
Where both of them are HIV negative, they are still encouraged to discuss their status and ways of ensuring they remain free from HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections. PYM