Barriers to utilization of modern methods of family planning amongst women in a community south-South of Nigeria
Background: Access to safe, effective and affordable contraception is recognized by the world health organization (WHO) as a universal human right.
Objective: This study is aimed at determining awareness, acceptability and barriers to the utilization of modern methods of family planning amongst the women in south-south Nigeria.
Subjects and Methods: This was a cross-sectional study using structured interviewer administered questionnaires to 145 pregnant women at the antenatal booking clinic in Sacred Heart Hospital, Obudu, Cross-Rivers State, Nigeria from June to September 2010.
Results: Majority (98.6%) of the respondents knew at least one method of family planning. The commonest known methods included; Condom (35.2%), periodic abstinence (26.2%) and oral contraceptive pills (16.6%). Out of the 145 respondents, 118(81.4%) accepted family planning. Out of these number, 85(72.0%) have ever used any method while 33 (28%) had not. Barriers to usage of modern methods of family planning were: concern of safety to health (25.9%), Husband's opposition (24.2%), desire for more children (17.2%), Religious prohibition (13.8%), lack of money (10.3%) and fear of side effects (8.6%). There was a significant relationship between acceptability and utilization (p< 0.05).
Conclusion: The study finds numerous barriers to utilization of family planning methods despite high awareness and acceptability by the women. Strategies to improving access and utilization to family planning methods should therefore include; the involvement of male partners as well as traditional/religious leaders, economic empowerment of women and continuous research aimed at improving safety and reduction of side effects profile of the methods among others.
Key words: Family planning methods, awareness, acceptability, contraceptive pills, condom.