CONTRACEPTIVE USE AND FAMILY SIZE PREFERENCES AMONG RURAL WOMEN IN SOKOTO STATE, NIGERIA
Background: The interplay of high fertility, low contraceptive use and high maternal mortality continues to decimate populations across sub-Saharan Africa. This study aimed to determine contraceptive use and family size preferences among rural women in Sokoto State, Nigeria.
Methods: It was a cross-sectional study conducted in rural communities of Sokoto State, Nigeria, using both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. It involved interviews to a random sample of 202 women of child bearing age using semi-structured interviewer- administered questionnaires, and focus group discussions among women and men. The quantitative data were analyzed using the IBM SPSS version 17 computer statistical package; while the qualitative data were transcribed, sorted, categorized and analyzed thematically.
Results: The mean age of the women was 27.9 + 8.0 years, most of them had no formal education (85.6%) and were aged 14-19 years when they had their first pregnancy (84.2%). Of the 202 respondents only 10 (5.0%) were using modern contraceptives, most commonly pills 4 (40.0%), and injectable contraceptives 4 (40.0%). The main barriers to use of modern contraceptives were religious beliefs, desire for more pregnancies, poor understanding of FP concept/ disapproval by husbands; and lack of communication between couples. Almost all the respondents 197 (97.5%) preferred large family sizes and most of them 149 (73.8%) were willing to have as many children as possible.
Conclusion: These findings underscore the need for governments and other stakeholders to make female education the central focus of FP promotion programs, in addition to involving men and religious leaders.
Keywords: Contraceptive use, modern contraceptives, family size preferences, rural women, SokotoÂ
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