MOVEMBER: PROMOTING MEN’S HEALTH GOES BEYOND NOVEMBER.
‘M’ for Men, ‘M’ for ‘Movember’.
Running the background of our health promotions for the month of November is the advocacy for health and wellness among the male gender—which was themed “Movember“. The campaign was aimed at raising awareness about male-specific health concerns, as ongoing trends necessitate more attention to be paid to health promotion among boys and men. We laud your commitments to the imbibition and dissemination of the information pieces so far, as well as for the non-gender-specific campaigns on Diabetes and World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, occasioned during the month as well.
So while November has come to an end, the message of Movember we hope to continue promoting—just as unrelenting we are with ACTober! So here’s a précis of things to keep in mind to spur our motivation to continue pushing for men’s health and well-being.
- Male-specific health conditions require more interventional attention
While many diseases affect both men and women alike, health conditions that specifically assail men predispose them to poorer health outcomes. These include benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), prostate cancer, testicular cancer, hypogonadism, erectile dysfunction, and male infertility among others, and to include many infectious and non-communicable diseases, where more male cases populate the epidemiological statistics . All these have deleterious implications on both the physical and mental health of men. Research is ongoing to identify the etiology and risk factors for these health conditions and how to prevent or control them. Hence, the system to translate their findings into health policy and programs need to be strengthened and established where deficient. Simply, we need to pay more attention to health promotion among men.
- The prognosis for diseases amongst men is unimpressive:
In spite of the increasing longevity and quality of life for both genders, men still seem to run a shorter lifespan. Men are known to suffer more from chronic conditions in developed countries, have higher death rates for the leading causes of death, and, on average, do die earlier (3.7years) than women. For non-gender-specific common cancers (except for breast cancer), men face a higher risk of death. Also, on the social front, men are 3 times more likely to die from suicide than women, according to the CDC . All these stem from biological and social factors that will need modifications in order to control and improve the trend.
- Generally, men seek healthcare intervention less frequently compared to women
Men generally are known to visit the doctor less often than their female counterparts. This is worrisome given the correlation of poor health-seeking behaviors with low life expectancy and probable contribution to the gloomy prognosis of health among men. This phenomenon has been attributed to adherence to cultural and patriarchal belief in masculine virility. And interestingly, this belief transcends the barrier of educational attainments or status, as a study found out that cultural norms were still a major influence in the health-seeking behavior of men in Academia in Nigeria. 
Thus, it remains expedient that health campaigns, like this, encouraging better health-seeking behavior in the community of men are supported and continued till improvement is achieved.
Given the above burden of diseases, the tendency to engage in more risky health behaviors, and the reluctance to seek necessary or timely healthcare interventions, the males are facing an underrecognized health coverage challenge. Hence, ‘Men’s health’ (or more accurately, ‘Male’s health’, to accommodate all male age groups) is an important course to promote at all times in order to resolve the disparity. And for that, we should always remember that Movember (our move to promote male’s health) should suffuse our activities beyond November.
- ScienceDirect. Men’s Health: An overview. 2019. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/mens-health
- Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Excessive Alcohol Use and Men’s Health. (Online). https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/mens-health.htm
- Faith Osasumwen Olanrewaju, Lady Adaina Ajayi, Ejiroghene Loromeke, Adekunle Olanrewaju, Tolulope Allo & Onwuli Nwannebuife | Emmanuel O Amoo (Reviewing editor) (2019) Masculinity and men’s health-seeking behavior in Nigerian academia, Cogent Social Sciences, 5:1, DOI: 10.1080/23311886.2019.1682111