We view fatherlessness as one of the greatest social evils of our generation. Never before have so many children grown up without knowing what it means to have a father. Everyone, or at least almost everyone, now realizes that fathers matter. The question, then, is no longer whether we have a fatherhood problem. The question today is what, if anything, we are prepared to do about the problem.
Fathers parent differently from mothers and that difference matters a lot for kids! Fatherhood is just as essential to healthy child development as motherhood! The professional journal, Review of General Psychology, finds “evidence suggests that the influence of father love on offspring’s development is as great as and occasionally greater than the influence of mother love.
Childbirth continues to be dangerous for too many women. Too often, though, men themselves, health professionals and pregnant women do not see men as allies in birthing. Too little has been done to engage men as partners to improve maternal health and birth outcomes. Men can and should be allies for their birthing partners. Health care systems, health care professionals, and midwives should all work to engage men as birthing partners.
Too often the only role society recognizes or expects of men, is to be providers. But societies and families also want and respect men who are involved fathers. Program staff and men themselves should embrace the positive benefits to men themselves when men participate as involved and caring fathers. There may be no other area in which men see a self-interest in changing and embracing gender equality than in their roles as fathers.
Improvements in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in South Africa are not translating into a reduction in maternal deaths due to HIV infection, according to a 15-year review of evidence from Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital - a large district referral hospital in Johannesburg. The 21st Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) heard in Boston last week that prevention of HIV transmission from mother to infant is of limited value for the child if the child’s mother dies in the early years of life. How do we reconcile the fact that whilst we're saving babies with Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programmes too many young mothers continue to die of AIDS?