Document Type



Population Health (East Africa)


Background: Evidence suggests that increasing male involvement in maternal and newborn health (MNH) may improve MNH outcomes. However, male involvement is difficult to measure, and further research is necessary to understand the barriers and enablers for men to engage in MNH, and to define target groups for interventions. Using data from a peri-urban township in Myanmar, this study aimed to construct appropriate indicators of male involvement in MNH, and assess sociodemographic, knowledge and attitude correlates of involvement.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of married men with one or more children aged up to one year was conducted in 2012. Structured questionnaires measured participants’ involvement in MNH, and their sociodemographic characteristics, knowledge and attitudes. An ordinal measure of male involvement was constructed describing the subject’s participation across five areas of MNH, giving a score of 1–4. Proportional-odds regression models were developed to determine correlates of male involvement.

Results: A total of 210 men participated in the survey, of which 203 provided complete data. Most men reported involvement level scores of either 2 or 3 (64 %), with 13 % reporting the highest level (score of 4). Involvement in MNH was positively associated with wives’ level of education (AOR = 3.4; 95 % CI: 1.9-6.2; p < 0.001) and men’s level of knowledge of MNH (AOR = 1.2; 95 % CI: 1.1-1.3; p < 0.001), and negatively correlated with number of children (AOR = 0.78; 95 % CI: 0.63-0.95; p = 0.016).

Conclusions: These findings can inform the design of programs aiming to increase male involvement, for example by targeting less educated couples and addressing their knowledge of MNH. The composite index proved a useful summary measure of involvement; however, it may have masked differential determinants of the summed indicators. There is a need for greater understanding of the influence of gender attitudes on male involvement in Myanmar and more robust indicators that capture these gender dynamics for use both in Myanmar and globally.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.