Unintended pregnancy is a significant modifiable factor contributing to the high maternal mortality rate in Uganda. This study compares women and men’s knowledge of and attitudes toward family planning (FP) in rural Uganda to understand potential barriers to its use.METHODS:
Data were collected from villagers through surveys in rural Nakaseke District, Uganda (N=362). Participants’ socio-demographics, indicators of unmet need, and knowledge/accessibility of FP services were queried and analyzed.RESULTS:
183 women and 179 men (average age 32.5, range 15-71) participated. All women and 98% of men reported some knowledge of FP. Most women (62%) obtained FP information from health workers; most men (73%) obtained information via radio. 64% of women and 53% of men reported ever using FP; 40% of respondents reported current use. Of these, 35% of women involved their partners in their decision, compared to 23% of men. Of participants reporting barriers to FP (n=46), women cited partner opposition as the most common obstacle (23%), whereas men reported inability to access their chosen method (39%). Women and men identified common contraceptive side-effects, e.g. vaginal bleeding (47% vs 31%), but men were more likely to report myths, e.g. increased infertility (9% vs 1%).CONCLUSION:
Men and women in rural Uganda reported limited access to FP as a significant barrier to use. For women, partner opposition contributed significantly to limiting access. Men relied on incomplete/inaccurate sources of information, furthering their reluctance to use FP. Our study demonstrates the importance of targeting education for men and women to increase acceptance/success of FP programs.