Obstacles to family planning use among rural women in Atiak Health Center IV, Amuru District, northern Uganda
Background: Uganda’s rapid population growth (3.2%) since 1948 has placed more demands on health sector and lowered living standard of Ugandans resulting into 49% of people living in acute poverty especially in post conflict Northern Uganda. The population rise was due to low use of contraceptive methods (21% in rural areas and 43% in urban areas) and coupled with high unmet need for family planning (41%). This indicated poor access to reproductive health services. Effective use of family planning could reduce the rapid population growth.
Objective: To determine obstacles to family planning use among rural women in Northern Uganda.
Design: A descriptive cross-sectional analytical study.
Setting: Atiak Health Centre IV, Amuru District, rural Northern Uganda.
Subjects: Four hundred and twenty four females of reproductive ages were selected from both Inpatient and Outpatient Departments of Atiak Health Centre IV.
Results: There was high level of awareness 418 (98.6%), positive attitude 333 (78.6%) and fair level of utilisation 230 (54.2%) of family planning. However, significant obstacles to family planning usage included; long distance to Health facility, unavailability of preferred contraceptive methods, absenteeism of family planning providers, high cost of managing side effects, desire for big family size ,children dying less than five years old, husbands forbidding women from using family planning and lack of community leaders’ involvement in family planning programme.
Conclusions: In spites of the high level of awareness, positive attitude, and free family planning services, there were obstacles that hindered family planning usage among these rural women. However, taking services close to people, reducing number of children dying before their fifth birthday, educating men about family planning, making sure family planning providers and methods are available, reducing cost of managing side effects and involving community leaders will improve utilisation of family planning and thus reduce the rapid population growth and poverty.