Women empowerment and the current use of long acting and permanent contraceptive: Evidence from 2010 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey
Both contraceptive use and fertility rates are high fertility in Malawi. Status of women remains low and is believed to affect reproductive health decisions including use of Long Acting and Permanent Contraceptives Method (LAPCM).
This study seeks to examine the relationship between women empowerment and LAPCM. A measure of women’s empowerment is derived from the women’s responses to questions on the number of household decisions in
which the respondent participates, employment status, type of earnings, women’s control over cash earnings and level of education.
The study is based on a sub sample of 5,948 married women from the 2010 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics, Chi-square and multinomial logistic regression models (α=5%).
The prevalence of current use of LAPCM was 20.0% and increases with increasing empowerment level (p<0.001). Mean age and empowerment score of women who are currently using LAPCM were 38.53±6.2 years and 6.80±2.9 respectively. Urban women (22.2%) were more currently using LAPCM than rural women (19.4%) p<0.001. Women who belong to Seven Day Adventists/Baptist were 1.51(C.I=1.058-2.153; p=0.023) more likely and Muslims were 0.58(C.I=0.410-0.809; p=0.001) less likely to currently use LAPCM than Catholic women. Being in the richest wealth
quintile (OR=1.91; C.I=1.362-2.665; p<0.001) promotes current use of LAPCM than poorest. The likelihood of currently using LAPCM was higher among women who have access to FP programmes on media and increases consistently with increasing women empowerment level even when other potential confounding variables were used as control.
In Malawi, LAPCM is still underutilized and more than half of the women are not adequately empowered. Women empowerment, wealth quintile and access to FP programmes are key factors influencing the use of LAPCM. Programmes that address these determinants are urgently needed in Malawi.