PAKWACH. The Pakwach resident district commissioner (RDC) has advised men to embrace antenatal services by escorting their expectant wives to health units to test for HIV in order to know their status.
Mr Swaib Toko said the move is a Presidential directive geared towards ensuring all partners test for HIV so as to reduce the prevalence rate in the country.
Toko noted that most men dodge escorting their pregnant wives for antenatal services on grounds that they are busy, an act he said must stop.
"From today, our dear women any man who refuses to take you for antenatal services, say no to him in the bed. Why do they want to be good at scoring when they can’t defend?" Toko asked during a belated Pakwach district women’s day celebration over the weekend.
He said the attitude of men towards antenatal services is frustrating government's efforts in the fight against HIV.
Toko observed that the community rides on the Biblical misconception which states that ‘God said go and produce so that you fill the earth.’
He instead urged religious leaders to guide the population on the Biblical phrase so that people are not misled to produce the number of children they can’t manage.
"As government our stand is very clear, if you test positive be counselled and start medication immediately to suppress the viral load, we are serious about that,” Toko stressed.
At Pakwach health centre IV, majority of the expectant mothers we talked to welcomed the decision and called for quick action against men who don’t want to accompany their wives for antenatal services.
Ms Harriet Julie, an expectant mother said men need to be sensitized on the relevance of antenatal care services.
"Besides HIV testing, we normally get a lot of advice on how to feed and prepare to take care of the unborn baby which I feel men should be part of in the antenatal clinic,” Julie said.
However, Mr Hillary Onen, a Boda Boda cyclist in Pakwach town and a father of two said the burden of family responsibility is highly levied on men thus they basically have no time to attend antenatal services.
"This is wastage of time for making money after all, it's the woman to deliver and I'm not in support of the idea that my own woman denies me conjugal rights because of this minor issue,” Onen said.
Pakwach district just like other districts in West Nile is grappling with low men support towards antenatal services.