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Utilization of family planning services among women of reproductive age in urban and rural communities of Imo State, Nigeria: a comparative study

C.B. Duru
C.C. Nnebue
A.C. Iwu
R.U. Oluoha
E.U. Ndukwu
E Nwaigbo


Background: Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world, with urban- rural variations. In the face of limited resources, this scenario presents a case on the need for the control of population growth in tandem with the available food, economic and other resources of the country.

Objective: To determine and compare the differences in family planning use among women in rural and urban communities in Imo State, Nigeria.

Methods: This was a comparative cross-sectional survey of 1,130 women of reproductive age group (565) in urban and (565) in rural communities of Imo state, selected using multistage sampling technique. Data were collected by interview using semi-structured questionnaire and analysed using a computer software package (EPI INFO version 3.3.2). Frequencies and percentages of relevant variables were generated, while Chi-square and t tests were used to identify associations between variables. A p-value <0.05 was considered significant.

Results: The mean age of respondents in urban areas, 32.7±7.7 years was higher than in rural areas, 31.2+8.1years, (p=0.001). More women in rural, 433 (77.2%) than urban areas, 365 (65.1%) were married (p<0.0001). More respondents had heard about family planning in urban 555(99.1%) than rural 539(96.1%) (p=0.001). More respondents in urban, 450 (80.90%), had good contraceptive knowledge, compared to rural, 303(56.10%) (p<0.0001). More respondents had ever used any form of contraception in urban, 303(53.9%), than rural 239(47.2%), counterparts, (p<0.0001). Current contraceptive use was higher among urban women, 196(35.2%) than in rural counterparts, 109 (19.5%), p<0.0001. More rural respondents currently used modern methods (74.0%) than their urban counterparts, (58.2%), p=0.002. The commonest reason for choosing any family planning method in both rural (52.3%) and urban, (49.5%) areas was that it is convenient.

Conclusion: This study found that though the reported awareness and knowledge about family planning in both localities were high, the overall family planning use was low. Also, family planning use was higher among women from urban communities than those from rural communities of the State. These findings may have implications for public health policies and programs especially at the grass roots. Thus, there is need for stake holders in the State to find ways of increasing the use of family planning services by making it attractive to these women through incentives especially among those living in the rural areas of the State

Keywords: utilization of family planning services, women of reproductive age, urban and rural communities, comparative study, Nigeria

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print ISSN: 2141-162X