The role of men in fertility and family planning program in Tigray Region



Abstract Objective: To assess men's role on fertility and their attitudes towards family planning, to compare in which ways and to what extent they differ from their wives/partners and its implications for future family planning programs. Design: The study involved a cross-sectional comparative study design. Both closed and openended questionnaires were used. Subject: The study included couples of the reproductive age group, who were married or in union for greater than six months at the time of the survey. Four hundred and ten respondents (205 men and 205 wives/partners) were included. Setting: sub-Districts-Mekelle and Kuha (urban and semi-urban) in Tigray, Ethiopia. Main outcome measures: Couples' fertility intentions, ideal mean family size preferences and attitude towards family planning. Results: The study for the two sample proportions showed that Tigrian men in general wanted a greater number of children than their wives/partners (χ2=11.08, df=1,P<0.001). Men showed greater family size preferences (ideal family size) than their wives/partners (4.9 children for men and 3.7 for women). Differences for the two groups are statistically significant, with 95% CI: 1.2(0.87 to 1.53). The data on current use of family planning versus husbands' approval showed strong association, (χ2=8.88, df=2,P=0.012\). Conclusion: Men's fertility intentions, reproductive preferences and their attitude towards family planning seem to influence the fertility behavior of their wives and their attitudes towards the use of modern contraceptives. Traditional socio-cultural norms, economic and property ownership status mean that Tigrian men dominate decision-making at all levels of the reproductive processes. Men's attitudes towards family planning (which was assessed in terms of partner approval and discussion were important in determining the role of husbands regarding the use of family planning methods by women, and on the fertility level of the family. Therefore in an attempt to promote reproductive health through the increasing use of modern contraceptives, family planning programs need to target men specifically at all levels of the program. Men should be actively involved at 'knowledge' level, 'supportive' level and 'acceptor' level. Their decision-making role should be used (exploited) in order to promote contraceptive use by couples in the study population. [Ethiop.J.Health Dev.2002; 16(3):247-255]



How to Cite

Mesfin, G. (2021). The role of men in fertility and family planning program in Tigray Region. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 16(3). Retrieved from