Perception of male healthcare worker about harassment at a tertiary hospital Karachi, Pakistan: A qualitative study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Policy & Management (MSc Health Policy & Mgmt)


Community Health Sciences


workplace harassment has been identified as a serious public health issue by the World Health Organization. It does not only humiliate the dignity of an individual but also badly affects the physical and mental wellbeing of an individual. Workplace harassment is three times higher in healthcare professionals in comparison to other occupations. The term harassment brings the female illustration in mind, but recent literature and news bulletin confirm that males are also equally vulnerable to get harassed. This study aims to explore the male healthcare workers' perspective on harassment. Study Objectives: The study aimed to explore the perceptions of male healthcare workers about harassment at a tertiary care hospital of Karachi, Pakistan. The study also helped in identification of contributing factors to its underreporting and impact on the health. Moreover, the study also intended to explore availability and implication of institutional and national anti-harassment polices/laws. Methodology: An exploratory qualitative study design was carried out using indepth interviews (IDIs) and key informant interviews (KIIs) using semi structured open-ended question guide. Four KIIs were conducted with organizational leaders, employee relationship team and legal advisor. However, IDIs were conducted with male healthcare workers (physicians and nurses) until the saturation of the finding achieved. The finding of the data was then analyzed using manual coding and themes were developed from the emerging codes. Results: The results of the study were categorized in four different themes after content analysis. They shared their perception regarding male harassment and shared that males are more harassed then females but due to lack of awareness and lack of acceptance incidences are not reported. The society and culture has never welcome male harassment not even as a thought so it is a major barrier to reporting. They also shared that fear of defame and job insecurity is also associated which contributes to its underreporting. They also shared that policies at institutional level are available and reporting channels also exist but the implications of those policies is questionable. Participants also shared that post event there are dangerous effects on the physical, mental, social and emotional health of an individual. Conclusion: The study findings suggest that male healthcare workers are equally vulnerable to be harassed at the workplace. Therefore, there should be a platform where male healthcare workers can share their concerns and issues. Also, the implication of existing policies/laws should be ensured as it is done in the case of female harassment.

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