Title: My partner wants a child: A cross-sectional study of the determinants of the desire for children among mutually disclosed sero-discordant couples receiving care in Uganda

Authors: Jolly Beyeza-Kashesya1, 2,  Anna M Ekstrom 2,  Frank Kaharuza1,  Florence Mirembe1, Stella Neema3 and Asli Kulane 2

1 Department of Obstetrics/Gynaecology, Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Kampala, Uganda
2 Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
3 Makerere University Institute of Social Research, Kampala, Uganda
The percentages of couples in HIV sero-discordant relationships range from 5 to 31% in the various countries of Africa. Given the importance of procreation and the lack of assisted reproduction to avoid partner transmission, members of these couples are faced with a serious dilemma even after the challenge of disclosing their HIV status to their spouses. Identifying the determinants of the decision to have children among sero-discordant couples will help in setting reproductive intervention priorities in resource-poor countries.

We conducted a survey among 114 mutually disclosed sero-discordant couples (228 individuals) receiving HIV care at four centres in Greater Kampala, between June and December 2007. The data we collected was classified according to whether the man or the woman was HIV-positive. We carried out multivariate logistic regression modelling to determine factors (age, gender, and the influences of relatives and of health workers, ART knowledge, and disclosure) that are independently associated with a desire for children.

The majority, 59%, of the participants, desired to have children. The belief that their partner wanted children was a major determinant of the desire to have children, irrespective of the HIV sero-status (adjusted odds ratio 24.0 (95% CI 9.15, 105.4)). Among couples in which the woman was HIV-positive, young age and relatives’ expectations for children were significantly associated with increased fertility desire, while among couples in which the man was positive; knowledge of ART effectiveness was associated with increased fertility desire. Availability of information on contraception was associated with decreased fertility desire.

The gender of the positive partner affects the factors associated with a desire for children. Interventions targeting sero-discordant couples should explore contraceptive choices, the cultural importance of children, and partner communication.

Title: Hurdles and opportunities for newborn care in rural Uganda.

Authors: Byaruhanga RN1, 5, Nsungwa-Sabiiti J 2, Kiguli J3, Balyeku A4, Nsabagasani X3, Peterson S5.

1 San Raphael of St. Francis Hospital Nsambya
2 Ministry of Health
3 Makerere Univeristy College of Health Science
4 Word point communication group
5 Division of Global health, Department of public health science, Karolinska Institutet

A set of evidence-based delivery and neonatal practices have the potential to reduce neonatal mortality substantially. However, resistance to the acceptance and adoption of these practices may still be a problem and challenge in the rural community in Uganda.

To explore the acceptability and feasibility of the newborn care practices at household and family level in the rural communities in different regions of Uganda with regards to birth asphyxia, thermo-protection and cord care.

A qualitative design using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were used. Participants were purposively selected from rural communities in three districts. Six in-depth interviews targeting traditional birth attendants and nine focus group discussions composed of 10-15 participants among post childbirth mothers, elderly caregivers and partners or fathers of recently delivered mothers were conducted. All the mothers involved has had normal vaginal deliveries in the rural community with unskilled birth attendants. Latent content analysis was used.

Two main themes emerged from the interviews: ‘Barriers to change’ and ‘Windows of opportunities’. Some of the recommended newborn practices were deemed to conflict with traditional and cultural practices. Promotion of delayed bathing as a thermo-protection measure, dry cord care were unlikely to be accepted and spiritual beliefs were attached to use of local herbs for bathing or smearing of the baby’s skin. However, several aspects of thermo-protection of the newborn, breast feeding, taking newborns for immunisation were in agreement with biomedical recommendations, and positive aspects of newborn care were noticed with the traditional birth attendants.

Some of the evidence based practices may be accepted after modification. Behaviour change communication messages need to address the community norms in the country. The involvement of other newborn caregivers than the mother at the household and the community early during pregnancy may influence change of behaviour related to the adoption of the recommended newborn care practices.