Male partners’ participation in birth preparedness and complication readiness in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Minyahil Tadesse Boltena, Abraham Kebede, Ziad El-Khatib , Benedict Oppong Asamoah, Andualem Tadesse Boltena , Hawult Tyae, Melese Yeshambaw Teferi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Maternal and neonatal health outcomes remain a challenge in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) despite priority given to involving male partners in birth preparedness and complication readiness (BPCR). Men in LMICs often determine women’s access to and affordability of health services. This systematic review and meta-analysis determined the pooled magnitude of male partner’s participation in birth preparedness and complication readiness in LMICs. Methods: Literature published in English language from 2004 to 2019 was retrieved from Google Scholar, PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, and EMBASE databases. The Joanna Briggs Institute’s critical appraisal tool for prevalence and incidence studies were used. A pooled statistical meta-analysis was conducted using STATA Version 14.0. The heterogeneity and publication bias were assessed using the I 2 statistics and Egger’s test. Duval and Tweedie's nonparametric trim and fill analysis using the random-effect analysis was carried out to validate publication bias and heterogeneity. The random effect model was used to estimate the summary prevalence and the corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI) of birth preparedness and complication readiness. The review protocol has been registered in PROSPERO number CRD42019140752. The PRISMA flow chart was used to show the number of articles identified, included, and excluded with justifications described. Results: Thirty-seven studies with a total of 17, 148 participants were included. The pooled results showed that 42.4% of male partners participated in BPCR. Among the study participants, 54% reported having saved money for delivery, whereas 44% identified skilled birth attendants. 45.8% of male partners arranged transportation and 57.2% of study participants identified health facility as a place of birth. Only 16.1% of the male partners identified potential blood donors. Conclusions: A low proportion of male partners were identified to have participated in BPCR in LMICs. This calls countries in low- and middle-income setting for action to review their health care policies, to remove the barriers and promote facilitators to male partner’s involvement in BPCR. Health systems in LMICs must design and innovate scalable strategies to improve male partner’s arrangements for a potential blood donor and transportation for complications that could arise during delivery or postpartum haemorrhage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number556
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: We would like to acknowledge the Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Joanna Briggs Institute and Armauer Hansen Research Institute, for providing the opportunity to attend the comprehensive systematic review training, enabling and creating access to the databases. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which
permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.


  • Birth Preparedness
  • Complication Readiness
  • LMICs
  • Male involvement
  • Participation


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