Looking for a caring and honest woman

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Malaria Journal volume 17Article : Cite this article. Metrics details. In Tanzania, the roles of men and women are classified based on the local cultural context. While men are usually the breadwinners, women are traditionally responsible for most domestic chores. Particularly for malaria prevention, studies in Africa have revealed women as being responsible for daily up-keep of the net.

Using social role theory, this study explored the role of men and women in net care and repair and gender-related motivation and barriers to net care and repair in Tanzania. The study was conducted in the two villages of Ruangwa district in Lindi Region. The study applied qualitative approaches and carried out in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with men, women, women with children under the age of five, and village key informants.

Mosquito nets were valued by all participants as a protection measure against mosquitoes. While men were said to assist in stitching damaged nets, washing dirty bed nets was regarded inappropriate for men and not traditionally accepted.

Motivation for net care and repair was reported to come from both men and women; for a woman keeping the net clean defined a caring and responsible woman, while men indirectly promoted net washing when complaining about nets being dirty. Women reported that men could do everything that women do regarding net care and repair, but that it does not fit into societal norms. With increased globalization in Tanzania, more women are becoming part of the workforce, which may limit their full commitment to net care and repair activities, leading to increased net damage, malaria incidences and higher costs for malaria treatment.

The National Malaria Control Programme should consider incorporating research-informed gender-transformative messages into their behaviour change communication on mosquito nets and work closely with trusted Community Health Workers to inform communities about the importance of sharing responsibilities in net care and repair.

In Tanzania, like everywhere else, Looking for a caring and honest woman roles of men and women are classified based on the local cultural context. Tanzanian society is largely patriarchal and in many communities, women are under the control of men and often accorded to a lower social status [ 1 ].

Gender roles have, therefore, been stereotyped as being masculine and feminine, which affects the division of labour and resources within the household [ 23 ]. The current expectations of their roles at household level, however, remain the same: after work, women are expected to cook, fetch water and conduct all household chores as usual [ 5 ], but it is unclear for how much longer women can focus on both demands as carefully as required.

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Several studies have looked at the gender role division in traditional households when it comes to general well-being of family members [ 67 ]. In Tanzania, for example, women are considered responsible for all domestic duties ranging from cooking, collecting water, taking care of patients and serving men [ 58 ]. Studies on treatment-seeking behaviour for children indicate that women are the first ones to recognize illness symptoms because they spend most of their time with the children.

The husband becomes involved in treatment-seeking, when it needs to be sought outside the home, as it is usually him who pays for treatment [ 910 ]. When it comes to household gender roles in disease prevention, particularly against malaria, women are more likely to use mosquito nets than men as they tend to share nets with their young children and are more vulnerable to the disease when they become pregnant [ 111213 ].

A recent study in Kenya, found that male-headed households adopted more prevention measures, including mosquito net use, than female-headed households, potentially due to their higher purchasing power and increased access to health information and knowledge [ 14 ]. Long-lasting insecticidal nets LLINs are one of the most effective tools to reduce malaria morbidity and mortality [ 1516 ].

In addition to nets being used, they must also be maintained in good condition to avoid the development of holes and tears, which will render the net less useful against mosquito bites [ 1718 ] and lead to the discarding of nets [ 192021 ]. Net maintenance entails activities that aim to prolong its durability, particularly those related to care and repair [ 222324 ].

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As per World Health Organization definition, bed nets are deed to retain satisfactory amounts of insecticide to last for up to 20 washes and survive up to 3 years [ 24 ]. While caring is defined as washing, drying, proper hanging, careful tucking and untucking from underneath the mattress and net storage, net repair encompasses stitching holes with needle and thread, knotting or patching [ 222324 ].

Studies indicate that women are primarily responsible for the daily up-keep of the nets, including washing and stitching when damage occurs [ 222324 ]. In Uganda and Nigeria, men were reported to take part in repair to some extent, but not caring for nets [ 2324 ]. No published studies in Tanzania have looked at household roles in net maintenance. Understanding household dynamics and gender roles in net care and repair may inform appropriate interventions geared towards addressing gender-related challenges that currently inhibit net care and repair with the overall aim of increasing the life span of mosquito nets.

This study investigates the role gender plays in net care and repair behaviours in southern Tanzania through the lens of social role theory.

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Social role theory argues that household distribution of activities is based on societal expectations and stereotypes that are socially constructed, thus producing gender roles [ 2 ]. Such roles have been the main source of discrimination, which have been accepted by society at large. Eagly [ 2 ] divides gender roles into communal and agentic. The communal role is characterized by attributes of emotional and physical nourishment, commonly associated with domestic activities, and ascribed to women more than men.

The agentic role, on the other hand, is characterized by features of confidence and forceful behaviour in public activities and is more likely to be associated with men. Thus, the study aims to explore the roles of men and women in net care and repair activities at the household level in the context of perceived malaria risk and benefit of bed net use.

The theory guided us in exploring gender-related motivation and obstacles to net care and repair; and Looking for a caring and honest woman decisions in care and repair. This study took place in the two villages of Southern Tanzania, which are part of the School Net Programme SNPa continuous distribution mechanism that uses school-going children as a means for delivering nets into the community [ 27 ]. The findings from the study aim to help the NMCP BCC to come up with relevant gender-related care and repair messages for men and women to be targeted more effectively.

The study was conducted in two villages in Ruangwa district Lindi region, southern Tanzania where SNP has been ongoing annually since [ 27 ]. Malaria prevalence in children aged 6—59 months in the Lindi region was Interview methods took an inductive approach that allowed participants to report issues related to household roles in net care and repair while probing for necessary information [ 30 ].

The study participants were purposively selected with assistance from village leaders to ensure that relevant information is obtained necessary to answer the study objectives and capture differences in responses among the study groups. The sample size was determined using a combination of saturation sampling [ 3132 ] and reviewing similar studies [ 222324 ].

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The of FGD participants ranged between 8 and 12 participants per group. In each village, 15 IDIs were conducted. The IDIs consisted of five men, five women with or without children, and five women with children under the age of five. In each village, response saturation was reached after three FGDs and five IDIs, but sampling was continued to ensure no more new themes emerged. Participants had to fulfil the following inclusion criteria: resident in study site for a minimum of 12 months, at least 18 years of age Looking for a caring and honest woman owner of at least one insecticide-treated net ITN.

Prior to data collection, the study team carried out a pilot exercise in Pemba Mnazi, a rural village in Dar es Salaam region. One FGD and four IDIs were conducted with purposively selected residents to pilot the topic guides to check if they were locally appropriate.

All interviews and FGDs were conducted in Kiswahili language. The senior social scientist participating in the study conducted quality check of the IDIs by revisiting some of the households. Audio-recording devices were used while research assistants also took notes during each interview. All recorded interviews were transcribed. NVivo 11 Pro software was used for data management. Transcripts were coded and the list of codes were reviewed and grouped into and themes for analysis.

From the codes, patterns and themes in the data were identified that answered the specific study objectives. Analysis was undertaken by comparing themes that answered key issues related to the study objectives and checking for inconsistencies across different data sources. Local authorities where the study took place were also informed.

Written consent was obtained from participants and a thumb print for those who could not write. Measures were taken to ensure privacy, respect and dignity of all participants. Most of the study participants were both net owners and users. Study participants primarily used mosquito nets as a preventive measure against malaria. Mosquito nets were valued by participants in both villages as malaria was perceived to be a dangerous disease associated with economic and health risks. All participants perceived two distinct groups at the highest risk of malaria: 1 children under the age of 5 Looking for a caring and honest woman 2 adults.

Most women also said that pregnant women and their unborn babies were at higher risk than other groups. Both men and women see malaria as a disease leading to poverty: costs associated with treatment, sickness and death were their main concern. Net care was defined as keeping nets clean and tidy by washing, drying and hanging nets back over sleeping spaces after drying. Net care in the household was perceived to be the responsibility of women, usually the wife. This was confirmed by all male and female participants. Women were said to be responsible because they mainly remain at home taking care of the family when men go out to work.

The roles and responsibilities of working women remained the same inside the house, including net up-keep. However, even these activities were said to be optional. However, most participants in both study villages reported that in situations where women were not available or travelling, men do take care of the nets, particularly hanging, tucking and untucking from under the mattress but not washing. Net washing was considered inappropriate for men and not traditionally accepted.

Net repair was defined as stitching holes with needle and thread, whereas knotting was described only as a temporary repair measure awaiting stitching in the coming few days. As with net care, most male and female participants reported net repair to be a female chore because women are the ones most likely to identify a hole during the daily net up-keep.

However, women also acknowledged that men do assist in stitching holes. Male participants also reported to help their wives stitch nets whenever they identified a hole big enough to allow mosquitoes to enter the net. Probing on why men were more willing to stitch than wash a net and the common theme was that net repair can be done more privately than net care. A man helping with net repair is more common than helping with net care possibly because net repair can be performed inside the house unlike net care, an activity performed outside the house.

Related to the study objectives, the role of children was investigated in their engagement in all activities related to net care and repair as most of the nets within households had been obtained through the School Net programme. The responsibilities of children were said to depend on the age of the .

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Starting from about age 13, some children were said to assist their parent in washing and stitching holes. Motivation to care for and repair the damaged net was reported to come from both the husband and wife in the household. The study noted that women respondents were more interested in washing and keeping the net clean than stitching holes.

Keeping the net clean was considered a good practice that defines a caring and responsible woman. The same was reported by men during their FGD: for things to run smoothly in the household, the man has the say, and men remind their wives to keep nets clean and free from dirt to avoid other health problems such as respiratory infections. Being over-occupied with household tasks was mentioned as the main reason for women not remembering to repair nets.

Women were of the view that it is more convenient to wash nets than to repair them because washing is already part of their daily household routine. Stitching clothes, on the other hand, is done much less frequently. Women revealed that the cost of repairing a net is very small, involving Tanzanian Shilling 0.

Most study participants reported they did not take their damaged nets to a tailor. Taking a net to be repaired by a tailor was regarded as awkward, as a bed net is considered a private item that needs to be repaired within the household. Moreover, for a woman to take a net to be repaired by the tailor was considered irresponsible and shameful.

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Gender of the main income earner was said not to affect responsibilities and choices when it comes to net care and repair.

Looking for a caring and honest woman

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