Women’s Limited Choice and Availability of Modern Contraception at Retail Outlets and Public-Sector Facilities in Luanda, Angola, 2012–2015
Despite high rates of unintended pregnancy, access to a wide range of contraceptive methods, especially injectables and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), is severely limited in both public and private facilities. Knowledge of contraceptive choices is likewise limited, yet a substantial proportion of women are not using their preferred method among the methods they know of.
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After a generation of partial neglect, renewed attention is being paid to population and voluntary family planning. Realistic access to family planning is a prerequisite for women's autonomy. For the individual, family, society, and our fragile planet, family planning has great power.
Published in Global Health: Science and Practice 2014; 2(2), 145-51.
Abstract: Family planning programs have made vast progress in many regions of sub-Saharan Africa in the last decade, but francophone West Africa is still lagging behind. More emphasis on male engagement might result in better outcomes, especially in countries with strong patriarchal societies. Few studies in francophone West Africa have examined attitudes of male involvement in family planning from the perspective of men themselves, yet this evidence is necessary for development of successful family planning projects that include men. This qualitative study, conducted in 2016, explored attitudes of 72 married men ages 18–54 through 6 focus groups in the capital of Togo, Lomé. Participants included professional workers as well as skilled and unskilled workers. Results indicate that men have specific views on family planning based on their knowledge and understanding of how and why women might use contraception. While some men did have reservations, both founded and not, there was an overwhelmingly positive response to discussing family planning and being engaged with related decisions and services. Four key findings from the analyses of focus group responses were: (1) socioeconomic motivations drive men’s interest in family planning; (2) men strongly disapprove of unilateral decisions by women to use family planning; (3) misconceptions surrounding modern methods can hinder support for family planning; and (4) limited method choice for men, insufficient venues to receive services, and few messages that target men create barriers for male engagement in family planning. Future attempts to engage men in family planning programs should pay specific attention to men’s concerns, misconceptions, and their roles in family decision making. Interventions should educate men on the socioeconomic and health benefits of family planning while explaining the possible side effects and dispelling myths. To help build trust and facilitate open communication, family planning programs that encourage counseling of husbands and wives in their homes by community health workers, trusted men, or couples who have successfully used or are currently using family planning to achieve their desired family size will be important.Read More Download PDF