Preventive work for men’s sexual and reproductive health and rights within primary care

In everybody’s interest but no one’s assigned responsibility: midwives’ thoughts and experiences of preventive work for men’s sexual and reproductive health and rights within primary care

Abstract

Background

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) have historically been regarded as a woman’s issue. It is likely that these gender norms also hinder health care providers from perceiving boys and men as health care recipients, especially within the area of SRHR. The aim of this study was to explore midwives’ thoughts and experiences regarding preventive work for men’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in the primary care setting.

Methods

An exploratory qualitative study. Five focus group interviews, including 4–5 participants in each group, were conducted with 22 midwives aged 31–64, who worked with reproductive, perinatal and sexual health within primary care. Data were analysed by latent content analysis.

Results

One overall theme emerged, in everybody’s interest, but no one’s assigned responsibility, and three sub-themes: (i) organisational aspects create obstacles, (ii) mixed views on the midwife’s role and responsibility, and (iii) beliefs about men and women: same, but different.

Conclusions

Midwives believed that preventive work for men’s sexual and reproductive health and rights was in everybody’s interest, but no one’s assigned responsibility. To improve men’s access to sexual and reproductive health care, actions are needed from the state, the health care system and health care providers.