Increasing access to family planning can be one potential solution for reducing maternal mortality in South Sudan, the country with the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. To better understand how culture affects access to and attitudes toward family planning in South Sudan, a mixed-methods pilot study was conducted in Yei.METHODS:
30 women were given a structured questionnaire followed by a semi-structured interview. Quantitative data was exported into excel and analyzed using SAS 9.3 (Cary, NC). Qualitative data was transcribed by hand in real time and analyzed using grounded theory techniques.RESULTS:
On average, participants were aware of 1–2 methods with Depo-Provera being the most well known, 67%. 70% of respondents were familiar with at least one family planning method and 81% indicated that they learned about contraception from a healthcare provider. Women who completed at least secondary education or were employed, had a longer desired pregnancy interval and were familiar with more family planning methods. From the semi-structured interviews three themes emerged: 1) personal barriers to using family planning for example lack of knowledge, fear of negative side effects and/or partner opposition, 2) concealed use of family planning, and 3) decision making—found to be male dominant.CONCLUSION:
There is an opportunity to increase family planning knowledge by investing in the education of women. Moreover, more research is needed to determine the knowledge of and attitudes toward family planning of men, since decision making is male dominated.