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Barriers to Modern Contraceptive Use in Kinshasa, DRC

Mbadu Muanda, Parfait Gahungu Ndongo, Leah D. Taub, Jane T. Bertrand


December 29, 2016
Recent research from Kinshasa, DRC, has shown that only one in five married women uses modern contraception; over one quarter have an unmet need for family planning; and almost 400 health facilities across Kinshasa report that they provide modern contraception.

Abt's Leah Taub participated on the research team that conducted a study into the question: with reasonable physical access and relatively high unmet need, why is modern contraceptive prevalence so low? To this end, the research team conducted 6 focus groups of women (non-users of any method, users of traditional methods, and users of modern methods) and 4 of husbands (of users of traditional methods and in non-user unions) in health zones with relatively strong physical access to FP services.

Five key barriers emerged from the focus group discussions: fear of side effects (especially sterility), costs of the method, sociocultural norms (especially the dominant position of the male in family decision-making), pressure from family members to avoid modern contraception, and lack of information/misinformation. These findings are very similar to those from 12 other studies of sociocultural barriers to family planning in sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, they have strong programmatic implications for the training of FP workers to counsel future clients and for the content of behavior change communication interventions.

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Focus Areas
Sub-Saharan Africa