MenCare Brazil works with the health sector to engage fathers

A pregnant women and her partner in a hospital room in Maternidade Carmela Dutra, in Rio de Janeiro. Credit: Beto Pêgo/Equimundo.

MenCare Brazil partner Equimundo has recently implemented various initiatives that work to educate health professionals about the importance of involving men in fatherhood and caregiving. From the launch of an online course, to the evaluation of trainings on maternal, newborn, and child health, MenCare’s work with health professionals in Brazil aims to provide education and raise awareness about the importance of men’s active engagement in their children’s lives – from pregnancy and beyond.

Equimundo and Brazilian Ministry of Health launch course on engaging men in parenting and caregiving

On November 30, Brazil’s “Community of Practice” platform, in partnership with Equimundo and with the Ministry of Health’s National Coordinating Body on Men’s Health, launched the online course “Engaging Men: Health, Parenting, and Care,” which aims to explore issues related to fatherhood with a focus on healthcare. The Community of Practice is a virtual space that facilitates knowledge exchange and capacity building for professionals from Brazil’s primary care health system.

The online course is open to the general public, but its goal is to train 500 health professionals in engaging men in maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH), in order to prevent violence against women and children and to improve MNCH outcomes. The primary participants in the course will be public health workers, because of their ability to positively impact the lives of couples and families who access health services during pregnancy, birth, and the postnatal period. The course is a pilot project and, pending positive evaluation, will be expanded in years to come.

The initiative is funded by the USAID Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) and forms part of MenCare+, a three-year, four-country collaboration between Equimundo and Rutgers, created to engage men ages 15-35 as partners in maternal, newborn, and child health and in sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Equimundo begins evaluation of training for health professionals in Rio de Janeiro

Between June and September, Equimundo trained 170 health professionals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in partnership with the city’s department of health. From these training workshops, participants developed action plans to involve men in MNCH within their health centers.

Equimundo started its evaluation of the trainings on December 3, holding a meeting for health professionals who had participated. The meeting began with a conversation during which professionals were able to share their experiences following the trainings. Participants then presented the actions they were leading in their health centers to better engage men and fathers. At the end of the meeting, a questionnaire was distributed which, together with reports on the activities at each health center, will compose the core of the evaluation.

National Early Childhood Network meets at Equimundo headquarters in Rio de Janeiro

On November 25, Equimundo hosted a planning meeting in Rio de Janeiro for the “Men for Early Childhood” Working Group, which is part of Brazil’s National Early Childhood Network (Rede Nacional Primeira Infância, in Portuguese, or RNPI). Fatherhood and caregiving experts, civil society members, and government representatives attended the meeting. Organizations represented included: Instituto Papai, the Municipal Health Secretariat of Rio de Janeiro,, Aldeias Infantis, Popular Image Creation Center, and the Ministry of Health’s National Coordinating Body on Men’s Health.

The meeting reviewed the working group’s portfolio in 2015, which included a seminar in Rio de Janeiro on fathers and early childhood in August, and the resulting initiatives related to involved fatherhood and caregiving. The seminar’s results are recorded in a report and a series of photos. At the meeting, the group also discussed action plans for the next two years, which will be coordinated by Instituto Papai.

The “Men for Early Childhood” Working Group presented on November 26 and 27 at the Assembly of the National Early Childhood Network.