A cross-sectional study was conducted in April 1998 with the an objective to identify the awareness and practice of family planning among women living around Jimma Town. A pre-tested questionnaire was administered to a total of 863 women in reproductive age. Besides, a total of 11 Focus Group Discussion (FGD) sessions were held with a total of 101 women in eight panels. Findings showed that 41.7% of women respondents have heard about family planning, the main source being husbands and health facilities. The majority (93.8%) believed that "it is God that decides when to become pregnant and the number of children to bear". Current use of contraceptive among married women was found to be only 7.0% of which 65.0% use the pill. Age and educational status were found to have significant association with contraceptive non-use. Unlike many studies that concluded men's disapproval as reason for not using family planning services, it was found that men rather were sources of family planning information and the finding from FGD did also show that husbands remain neutral about their wives use of contraceptive. FGD outcomes are in congruence with survey results. God was found to be an ultimate decision-maker concerning their reproductive matters. Besides, it did clearly come out that discussants felt that they lacked sufficient information about family planning. It was concluded from this study that even in areas closer to major urban towns, awareness of women about reproductive services like family planning is far below from what is expected. Thus, it calls for enhancing collaborative effort to reach the wider majority of women.
(Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 2000, 14(2): 117-126)