News and Events

Communicating men's sexual and reproductive health needs

Our partners in Bangladesh are holding a series of workshops in order to communicate the sexual and reproductive health needs of rural married men in Bangladesh. Their aim is to improve the sexual and reproductive health of poor and vulnerable populations by building awareness amongst informal and formal health care providers. The workshops respond to research that they have conducted.

A majority of the men in the study that BRAC undertook said that they had or were suffering from sexual and reproductive health concerns many of them had sought treatment - but this tended to be from informal, private sector providers rather than the public health system. While majority of the men had culturally embedded psychosocial concerns these facilities are only equipped to treat patients with STIs.

One workshop will focus on informal providers (village doctors, drug vendors, traditional practitioners, etc.) whilst the second will engage qualified providers (doctors, government staff, NGO providers).

The research findings illustrate that both formal and informal providers are doing important work in terms of helping people suffering from sexual and reproductive health concerns. All providers need to acknowledge psychosocial and culturally embedded concerns which are larger and more complex than bio-medical models of ill health. This is particularly important as men are spending large sums of money on treatment that may not always be appropriate. There is a need to improve the referal system between formal and informal providers - for this to be effective informal providers need training and refresher training to ensure the treatments provided are up to date and appropriate.

It is hoped that the workshop participants will provide reccomendations for how this research can be turned into a practical roadmap for action.

Presentations and facilitation will be in Bangla to ensure the participation of local providers. All participants will receive a copy of presentations on research findings for their future use. A report will be produced on the workshop and will be disseminated to activists, academics and researchers and local level newspaper coverage will be ensured.

An overarching message to all is the critical importance of listening to populations affected by sexual and reproductive ill health in order to understand their health seeking behavior.