Improving the range of contraceptive choices in rural Ethiopia
Background: Despite the reality of a high unmet need, the utilization of family planning services in Ethiopia could be described as very low. Besides this, the knowledge and practice of family planning is limited merely to the usage of shorter-term contraceptive methods. Therefore, there is a need to expand access to family planning services in rural Ethiopia by making available more choices to family planning clients.
Objective: The aim of this study is to examine the pattern of family planning method mix overtime and to assess the impact of combining strategies, such as community and facility based approaches, in improving access to family planning services and choices.
Methods: A cross-sectional, descriptive study was conducted in September 2000 in Tehuledere woreda, in South Wollo zone, Amhara Regional State. A census was done on all clients who live in 15 kebeles in the woreda and who used long-term and permanent family planning methods which included IUD, Norplant and male and female sterilization methods and were interviewed.
Results: Among the 218 family planning clients interviewed, 11 (5%) were males who had undergone vasectomy. Almost 81% of the clients using long-term and permanent methods were in the age group of 25-44 years. The mean age was 34.2 years with a range of 18-70 years and the mean number of children ever born to the study subjects was 5.6 with a range of 0-14 children. Knowledge of modern family planning methods was found to be over 90%, the majority (73.9%) of the respondents getting information on family planning from the community based reproductive health (CBRH) program. Fifty two percent have undergone voluntary surgical contraception, followed by Norplant (39.0%) and IUD (8.7%). Among the major reasons mentioned for the use of the current family planning methods were limiting family size (45.9%), spacing (27.5%), and side effects of the previous method (12.4%). For most clients (90.8%) the source of information for their current use is the CBRH program.
Conclusions: Improving the usage of wide range of contraceptive method mix improves the quality of family planning services rendered to the community and ensures sustainability of the services. A coordinated effort among facility based and community based providers can assist in ensuring client choices and improving the method mix. [Ethiop.J.Health Dev. 2006;20(2):74-78]