Month: March 2016

Pregnancy, Sexual Cultural Practices And HIV Growth

Pregnancy, Sexual Cultural Practices And HIV Growth

During a training session on social phenomena, the teacher encouraged us to develop the art of asking the right questions to find good answers. One of the issues that arose was “How can we explain the high rate of HIV/AIDS among married people?”. During my investigations concerning opinions of 16 people representing 6 men and 10 women from or living in Canada, the USA, Cameroon, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya, I was able to see the role that beliefs play in the sex lives of married persons during pregnancy. However, the results cannot be generalized, and the information was collected in real time during participatory observation between December 2015 and March 2016.

Physiological changes in pregnancy, often leads a woman to think she is ugly and less attractive to her husband; increasingly, attention is focused on the growing baby than her husband. There is also, in women, a change in sexual desire. Sometimes frustrating for the husband who manifests what I call the “paternal jealousy syndrome“; the frequency of intimacy decreases and could affect  the longterm sexual life of future parents. How is this embarrassing situation  managed?

  • For some couples, it presents an opportunity for dialogue during pregnancy. If the husband and wife go together for medical visits and attend all the ante and postnatal counseling sessions together, the husband can understand his wife and the woman in turn her husband.
  • For others, cultural considerations are very strong … Sexual activity remains fairly taboo part in many cultures, and it impressed me to understand how some cultures manage this aspect of women during pregnancy and especially how to make the link with HIV upsurge in families.
Cultural practices Sex to prepare the arrival of the baby The women of pregnancy
 Representativity Canada, USA, Cameroon, Kenya Burundi, Uganda, Cameroon, Kenya

Sex to prepare the arrival of the baby. This view shared by some sexologists and most of Canadians, Americans, Cameroonians and Kenyans participants states that sexual activity during pregnancy contributes to the emotional development of the child and helps to strengthen the feeling of security among women. In addition, sex during pregnancy would facilitate labour and faster delivery of the baby . The advantage is that sex life is maintained, at least as much as possible until delivery, waiting 1 to 3 months (Catherine Solano , 2009) of “sexual weaning” for the man after childbirth …

The women of pregnancy. This is a cultural practice acknowledged by Burundians,Ugandans,Cameroonians and Kenyans participants that allows the man to sleep with another woman in order to avoid suffering due to lack of sex with his wife during pregnancy and after the delivery. It is so serious that it is the community who will be responsible for finding the woman if the man is out of ideas. Surprisingly according to this belief, women are part of the social game and are not disturbed by the idea that their husband sleeps with another woman. Certainly the sexual tension is reduced but we can question the sexual health of the “woman of pregnancy” that does not have its first “marriage of pregnancy.” Besides for man, there could be as many “women of pregnancy” than children in the home. The critical point is that the man resumes his sexual activity with his wife after 1 or 3 months of “sexual weaning” .If the “woman of pregnancy” is HIV positive and that protection was not used, the husband will be infected and subsequently, his wife also.

Having considered the second point of view, I thought I had a partial explanation to the problem presented by the teacher. Pushing his question further, I wondered how to work on behavior change to reduce the impact of cultural practices on the spread of HIV? Moreover, the socio-cultural patterns in communities have standardized these practices to the point that it is difficult to accept that loyalty to one sexual partner is possible.

Should we intensify education sessions on social cultural norms that facilitate the spread of HIV in schools; engage parents in communities or make sure that public health experts actually do their work of informing and educating couples?

You can be part of this by forwarding this message to a friend family. Your comment will help us know more about sexual cultural practices during pregnancies in your community.

 Keywords: Sexual Cultural Practices, HIV/AIDS, Paternal Jealousy Syndrome, Sexual Weaning, Women of Pregnancy.

By Hervé-Boris NGATE,Masters Intercultural Studies



Jan is a young lady working in one of the top organizations in Uganda. In the process of her carrier development, she applied for a job and was selected for an interview. During the interview she was asked to introduce herself in French because the recruiting organization gets in touch with French speaking customers. Actually, the recruiters wanted to assess her basics in French. “Comment vous appellez vous?” and “Quelle est votre nationalité?” were the two questions asked and…..she could neither understand nor answer any of them! Despite all the other criteria she fulfilled, she failed the interview and lost an opportunity to achieve her carrier development ambition. Continue reading “THE POWER OF LEARNING A NEW LANGUAGE”




The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in article 12 stipulates that any person/institution shall participate in the legal and social inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). According to the World Health Organization, 15% of the world population is made of disabled people. Between November 2014 and February 2015, I conducted a research within the city of Yaounde in Cameroon to understand how Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) participate in the psychosocial inclusion of PwDs. Eleven PwDs and six leaders of one the FBO were interviewed using an interview grid and  data were analyzed through a thematic analysis of content.  The research showed gaps in the legal and the social framework for the integration of PwDs in FBOs.


                                                            Table 1.Psychosocial Integration
Strengths Weaknesses
·         Participation of PwDs in interviews.

·         The PwDs were happy to express themselves on their lived experience within the organization.

·         Most of the PwDs were active within the community.

·         PwDs were not complaining about their status within the community but would like that improvements be made.

·         Absence of a system of identification and training.

·         Absence of structural and functional organization for PwDs.

·         Absence of legal foundations (Laws, rules, regulations, disability council)

·         Absence of strategies (Awareness, Capacity building, Attitude Change)

·         Low participation of PwDs forcing the study to be qualitative without being able to include the quantitative aspect.


The study provided an in-depth understanding of the psychosocial integration of PwDs in that institution but the small sample size restricted our work to a qualitative study. Although it provides detailed information on the study group, the generalization of the results in the city of Yaounde and beyond its borders remains questionable. Moreover, the limitation of the scope of this work does not allow a comparison of the inclusion of PwDs within other social institutions. Nonetheless, Leaders could apply the recommendations made.

Data were collected from adults who could deeply express themselves. Most of them were happy that for the first time interest was shown especially concerning their role in social change. There was also gender balance in the sample (6 women and 5 men) but there were no children with disabilities represented in the study (the youngest person was 34 years old). Further studies may need to be done to understand the reasons for the absence of Children with Disabilities and to check if it is the case in other community-based structures.

One may ask why such a study and why FBOs? Observations show an increase in the number of faith-based leaders and institutions that participate in community development. For example with the refugee crisis in Syria, CNN portrayed faith based organizations among the first to offer a secure shelter to migrants mostly women and children. More can be done in this area for disabled people during emergency situations. On the other hands, there is a strong lifecycle between disability and poverty that can be broken through the investments of FBIs involved in social and human development.


The study was able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the process of inclusion of the PwDs within that faith based organization. The various challenges faced by the institution to integrate the PwDs in its mission could be addressed through the revision of the legislative and institutional framework, the strengthening of the capacity of key stakeholders, the strengthening of the capacities of the PwDs, and networking.

Key words: UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Children with Disabilities; Faith-Based Organizations; Persons with Disabilities; Psychosocial Integration.

By Hervé-Boris NGATE,Masters Intercultural Studies.

Read the CRPD on



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Cela fait déjà six ans  que la Syrie est secouée par une guerre civile dont le bilan s’élève a des centaines de milliers de morts. Cette crise  a atteint une échelle internationale par les flux migratoires vers l’Europe et l’Asie où la majorité des réfugiés espèrent partir  sur une nouvelle base économique. Le monde est aujourd’hui témoin de l’impuissance de la communauté   Continue reading “ET SI L’AFRIQUE ACCUEILLAIT DES REFUGIES SYRIENS?”