Abstract

Reproduction is a dual commitment, but so often in much of the world, it is seen as wholly the woman's responsibility. She bears the burden not only of pregnancy and childbirth but also the threats from excessive child bearing, some responsibility for contraception, infertility investigation and often undiagnosed sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including AIDS. Failure to target men in reproductive health interventions has weakened the impact of reproductive health care programmes. The paper proposes that sophisticated and dynamic strategies in Africa and elsewhere which target women's reproductive health and research (such as control of STDs including AIDS, family planning, infertility investigation) require complementary linkage to the study and education of men. Men's perceptions, as well as determinants of sexual behavioural change and the socioeconomic context in which STDs, including AIDS, become rife, should be reviewed. There is a need to study and foster change to reduce or prevent poor reproductives health outcomes; to identify behaviours which could be adversely affecting women's reproductive health

Issues of gender, identity and tolerance as expressed through sexuality and procreation need to be amplified in the context of present risks in reproductive health. Researchers and providers often ignore the social significance of men. This paper reviews the impact of male dominance, as manifested through reproductive health and sexual decisions, against the background of present reproductive health problems

A research agenda should define factors at both macro and micro levels that interact to adversely impinge on reproductive health outcomes. This should be followed up by well-developed causal models of the determinants of positive reproductive health-promoting behaviours. Behaviour specific influences in sexual partnership include the degree of interpersonal support towards prevention, for example, of STDs, unwanted pregnancy or maternal deaths. Perceived efficacy and situational variables influencing male compliance in, say, condom use, form part of the wider study that addresses men

Thus preventive reproductive health initiatives and information should move from the female alone to both sexes. Women need men as partners in reproductive health who understand the risks they might be exposed to and strategies for their prevention