FACTORS INFLUENCING THE ATTITUDE OF WOMEN TOWARDS FAMILY PLANNING IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

          The purpose of this study is to find out the factors that influence the attitudes of women towards family planning in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.  Specifically, the study attempts to find out the influence of education, health, religion, culture, age of women and income on the attitudes of women towards family planning. This research work deals with the types of contraceptive methods, importance of family planning and the benefits of family planning.  The subjects were selected using simple random sampling.  A total of 100 questionnaires were administered to subjects of the target population which are the educated women randomly selected from five communities under Egor Local Government:  Uselu, Uwasota, Osasogie, Evbareke, Osakpamwan.  The data collected were analyzed using percentage approach and the results showed that:

  1. Women recognize the impact of family planning on their families.
  2. Family planning is an opportunity for couples to actually plan their family towards better standard of living.

Recommendations were made based on findings from the data analyzed, amongst which are that:

  1. There should be enlightenment programmes to educate people on the need for family planning.
  2. Incentives should be provided for couples that practice family planning so as to encourage more people towards it.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Family planning as the name implies is having children by choice and not by chance; it is the process of having specific number of children at intervals acceptable by individuals or couples, to promote the health and welfare of the family.  Family planning is not a new idea all over the world and also applies to Egor Local Government Area of Edo State.  Throughout the ages, individuals and families have tried to regulate their fertility either by using herbs, abstinence during ovulation, prolonged breast feeding and living with parent in-laws to avoid sex or polygamy.

Historically, most communities in the past used to have policies that encourage large population.  Traditionally, in Africa, the low level of economic development and heavy reliance on agriculture have brought about several factors that encourage high fertility.  In addition, according to Namboze J.M.E. (1985), religious and cultural traditions favour large families because children are expected to help their parents financially and to ensure a kind of family immortality by continuity of the family name.

African women traditionally have played major roles in agricultural production, though their primary roles are that of wives and mothers having limited right as subordinates to the males in the household.  The status of women is further eroded by the practice of polygamy because they have limited opportunities.  At the societal level, child bearing is therefore an important way for them to gain status through the number of children raised. Children are also needed for labour in the farm and a potential old age security which they provide in later life, especially for their mothers because women are often denied inheritance right or forfeit right to use land upon death of husband; and they need children especially sons to ensure that someone cares for them in their old age.  Also, a man’s health and integrity are often determined by the number of wives and children he has and since the African religion was highly practiced, it was believed that ancestors are expected to reincarnate through childbirth as descendants.

Family planning services in Africa have been woefully inadequate. African women have suffered most,the high rate of unsafe abortion increase every day and about 10,000 African women resort to this practice which indicate their frustrated desire to control their fertility. In recent years,most African government nudged by global advocacy efforts and their family planning associations, have come to accept that fewer, better spaced births lead to healthier children and lower maternal mortality and morbidity. In sub-Sahara Africa as a whole, only 17% of married women are using contraceptives as against 50% of North Africa and the Middle East, 39%in South Asia, 76% in East Asia and the pacific and 68% in Latin America and the Caribbean. Only a few countries such as South Africa Botswana, Zimbabwe and Kenya have family planning being successful enough to increase contraceptive use to much higher levels.

In Nigeria, the 2008 Nigerian Demographic Health Survey NDHS found out that only 10% of married women of reproductive age use contraceptive. This is lower in current sub-Saharan Africa average of 17%. An analysis on the total Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) indicates the wide state variation ranging from 0.3 in Jigawa to 41.6 in Lagos state as well as a zonal variations ranging from 2.7 in the North West to 28.5 in the south west. The major organizations working in family planning in Nigeria are national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The organizations include path finder international, society for family health, etc. most financial support for family planning in Nigeria comes from bilateral and multilateral donors, and private organizations.