THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 9, No. 1, 2011
On Male Role and Responsibility for Reproductive Health in Africa
Uche Isiugo-Abanihe and Oka Obono
Sociology Department , University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
The literature on male role and responsibility for reproductive health in Africa supports the impression that African men are uninterested in the consequences of their reproductive behaviour. This paper argues this view to be inaccurate and historical. The perceived apathy results from the feminization of reproductive knowledge and its confinement to clinical settings, which exclude and alienate men. Men were indeed principal providers of healthcare for their households in the pre-colonial period but were dislodged from this role by the incorporation of their societies into the international labour market, thereby creating working class poverty, and weakening their role in this regard in Nigerian family life. The campaign to involve men in reproductive health programmes should be accompanied by poverty alleviation and family support schemes to mitigate rising costs of modern medical care for themselves, their partners, and their children.
Keywords: alienation, feminization, patriarchy, responsibility, ethnomedicine