Myths, misinformation, and communication about family planning and contraceptive use in Nigeria
Augustine Ankomah1, Jennifer Anyanti1, Muyiwa Oladosu2
1Society for Family Health, Abuja, Nigeria; 2MiraMonitor Consulting Ltd, Abuja, Nigeria
Background: This paper examines myths, misinformation, factual information, and communication about family planning and their effects on contraceptive use in Nigeria.
Methods: A nationally representative sample of 20,171 respondents from two waves of a multiround survey (one in 2003 and the other in 2005), was analyzed at the bivariate level using Chi-square tests and at the multivariate level using logistic regression.
Results: Key myths and misinformation about family planning having significant negative effects on contraceptive use included: “contraception makes women become promiscuous”, “it is expensive to practice family planning”, and “family planning causes cancer”. Factual information having significant positive effects on contraceptive use includes the messages that family planning methods are effective and not against religious teaching. The type of people with whom respondents discussed family planning had a significant effect on use of contraception. Respondents who discussed family planning with their spouse, friends, and health workers were more likely to use contraception than those who discussed it with religious leaders. Other significant predictors of contraceptive use were region of residence, gender, and socioeconomic status.
Conclusion: Family planning programs should focus on eliminating myths and misinformation, while strengthening factual information. Contraception programs should factor in the role of significant others, particularly spouses and friends.
Keywords: contraceptive use, family planning, logistic regression, misconceptions, myths
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