Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Knowledge and Use of Contraceptives among Urban and Rural Women of Abia State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Knowledge and Use of Contraceptives among Urban and Rural Women of Abia State, Nigeria

Article excerpt


The study examined the knowledge and use of contraceptive methods by urban and rural women in Umuahia, Abia State. Data for the study were collected through a service questionnaire and 6 in-depth interviews. A total of 500 women were selected from both rural and urban areas of the state. The study adopted a multi-stage sampling method. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Scientist (SPSS) at univariate and bivariate levels. The analysis strongly suggested that level of education, place of residence had a powerful effect on knowledge and use of modern contraceptive methods. The use of modern contraceptive methods was predominant among women aged 35-44 years. The reason was attributed to fear of conception amongst them. The main sources of knowledge of family planning were radio/TV and schools. The study recommends that subjects/courses on modern contraceptive methods and family planning should be introduced in our schools curriculum from secondary level.

Key words: socioeconomic, modern contraceptives, family planning, women


Unexpected or unplanned pregnancy poses a major public health challenge in women of reproductive age, especially in developing countries. More than 200 million women in developing countries would like to delay their next pregnancy or even stop bearing children altogether (Singh et al., 2003), but many of them still rely on traditional and less effective methods of contraception or use no method at all. Those who do not use any contraceptive method may lack access or face barriers to using contraception. These barriers include lack of awareness, lack of access, cultural factors, religion, opposition to use by partners or family members, and fear of health risks and side effects of contraceptives (Abiodun and Balogun, 2009).

In Nigeria, unintended intercourse is the primary cause of unwanted pregnancies, and many women with unwanted pregnancies decide to end them by abortion (Otoide, 2001). Since abortion is illegal in Nigeria (unless medically recommended to save a mother's life) many abortions are carried out in an unsafe environment. The consequences of these clandestine abortions are grave and can be life-threatening, often leading to maternal death. Abortions account for 20%-40% of maternal deaths in Nigeria (Oriji, 2009).

Many factors contribute to unwanted pregnancy in Nigeria, and a very important factor is the low level of contraceptive use (OyeAdeniran et al., 2005; Okpani and okpani, 2000). In addition, a desire to limit family size to enable the family to provide a better education for the children, the increased participation of women in the labor force, and urbanization are other factors leading to the desire of Nigerian women to have a predetermined number of children (Bankole et al., 2009). The use of modern contraceptive methods translates into the prevention of unwanted pregnancy and subsequent abortions. If contraceptive use in the population increases among Nigerian men and women who are sexually active, there will be a significant reduction in unwanted pregnancies and abortions leading to reduced maternal mortality. Research in Nigeria indicates that more than 60% of women with an unplanned pregnancy are not using any form of contraception (NDHS, 2003).

The results of NDHS (2008) show that knowledge of any contraceptive method is widespread in Nigeria, with 72 percent of all women and 90 percent of all men knowing at least one method of contraception. Modern methods are more widely known than traditional methods; 71 percent of all women know of a modern method while only 36 percent know a traditional method. Among modern methods for women, the male condom is the most commonly known method (58 percent). Foam /jelly and the diaphragm are the least known modern methods, 6 percent for both. Sexually active unmarried women are more likely to know of a contraceptive method than currently married women (95 percent compared with 68 percent, respectively). …

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