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Men’s knowledge and awareness of maternal, neonatal and child health care in rural Bangladesh: a comparative cross sectional study

Hashima E Nasreen1, Margaret Leppard2, Mahfuz Al Mamun1*, Masuma Billah1, Sabuj Kanti Mistry1, Mosiur Rahman3 and Peter Nicholls4

Author Affiliations

1 Research and Evaluation Division, BRAC Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh

2 University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

3 BRAC Health Programme, BRAC Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh

4 University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton, UK

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Reproductive Health 2012, 9:18  doi:10.1186/1742-4755-9-18

Published: 3 September 2012



The status of men’s knowledge of and awareness to maternal, neonatal and child health care are largely unknown in Bangladesh and the effect of community focused interventions in improving men’s knowledge is largely unexplored. This study identifies the extent of men’s knowledge and awareness on maternal, neonatal and child health issues between intervention and control groups.


This cross sectional comparative study was carried out in six rural districts of Bangladesh in 2008. BRAC health programme operates ‘improving maternal, neonatal and child survival’ intervention in four of the above-mentioned six districts. The intervention comprises a number of components including improving awareness of family planning, identification of pregnancy, providing antenatal, delivery and postnatal care, newborn care, under-5 child healthcare, referral of complications and improving clinical management in health facilities. In addition, communities are empowered through social mobilization and advocacy on best practices in maternal, neonatal and child health. Three groups were identified: intervention (2 years exposure); transitional (6 months exposure) and control. Data were collected by interviewing 7,200 men using a structured questionnaire.


Men prefer to gather in informal sites to interact socially. Overall men’s knowledge on maternal care was higher in intervention than control groups, for example, advice on tetanus injection should be given during antenatal care (intervention = 50%, control = 7%). There were low levels of knowledge about birth preparedness (buying delivery kit = 18%, arranging emergency transport = 13%) and newborn care (wrapping = 25%, cord cutting with sterile blade = 36%, cord tying with sterile thread = 11%) in the intervention. Men reported joint decision-making for delivery care relatively frequently (intervention = 66%, control = 46%, p < 0.001).


Improvement in men’s knowledge in intervention district is likely. Emphasis of behaviour change communications messages should be placed on birth preparedness for clean delivery and referral and on newborn care. These messages may be best directed to men by targeting informal meeting places like market places and tea stalls.

Men’s knowledge; Improving Maternal; Neonatal and Child Survival (IMNCS); Women’s reproductive health; Essential newborn care; Bangladesh