Child spacing and contraception among the poor in Zambia
Vijayan K Pillai1, Rashmi Gupta2
1School of Social Work, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA; 2Department of Social Work, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA
Abstract: For decades, family planning programs have targeted women in developing countries. These programs bestow a great deal of autonomy on women with respect to fertility decision making. It is well known that a number of close relatives in multigenerational and extended family systems influence women’s fertility decisions with respect to child spacing and contraceptive use. One approach toward a systematic study of fertility decision making is to explicitly consider the husband’s influences on fertility decision making. This study examines the effects of a selected number of factors on the desired birth interval lengths. We interviewed husbands and wives separately from 165 randomly selected households from two poor neighborhoods in the city of Kitwe, Zambia. Three ordinal birth interval groups were obtained for both husbands and wives separately. The effect of selected factors on the likelihood of influencing the three groups was examined using ordinal logistic regression methods. Data from husbands and wives were analyzed separately. Qualitative methods such as semistructured interviews were used to gather extensive information on the various factors that husbands and wives perceive to influence their child spacing decisions. We found differences in accounts with respect to child spacing between husbands and wives, likely due to a lack of communication. A gender-sensitive approach is necessary to promote spacing methods among poor couples in Zambia.
Keywords: child spacing, contraceptive use, correspondence analysis, couple decision making
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