Cementing community

Champiti, Malawi — In Malawi, maternal health is not something men are usually involved in. Out of the Community Score Card process “Secret Men” groups were created in several villages to counsel men in the community on the culturally “secret” topic of maternal health.

Sinosi Simenti is the head of his village’s Secret Men Group in Champiti. Simenti visits the homes of families in his village to share messages with expectant fathers on important maternal health behaviors and practices, such as their wives receiving antenatal care visits and in planning for delivery at the Health Center with a trained provider.

As unorthodox as his work is, Simenti says he is passionate about what he is doing. He teaches men in his community because after seeing his own growth from learning to work with his wife, he wants to see “total change” in Champiti.

The community and health providers report that male involvement in maternal health care has risen from 35% to 55% in Champiti as a result of the Score Card process and the efforts of Secret Men like Simenti.

“My role as a secret men motivator is vital because it changes people’s perception on maternal issues,” he said. “I will work towards a positive change.”

VIDEOGRAPHER | Ray Whitehouse

WRITER | Justina Vasquez

CONTRIBUTOR | Wisdom Mwale