× Home Projects Partners FAQs Contacts

FAMILY PLANNING: Scientists want policies reviewed to reduce “unmet needs”

Feb. 17, 2023
FAMILY PLANNING: Scientists want policies reviewed to reduce “unmet needs”
A snip from the landing page of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health which published the article recently. GRAPHIC | IFAKARA/KMC

Reducing unmet needs for family planning is possible if government policies and interventions can target women residing in rural areas and other modifiable risk factors, such as parity, health facility visits, employment, and women’s autonomy; scientists say.

The scientists from Tanzania and Australia – among them, Abdon Gregory Rwabilimbo of Ifakara Health Institute – recommend this after conducting a study that investigated the trends and drivers of unmet needs for family planning among married Tanzanian women.

Other scientists who contributing to the study and publication include; Kedir Ahmed from Charles Sturt University, Orange, Australia; Jackline Boniphace Mshokela from Medical Team International, Tanzania; Amit Arora and Felix Akpojene Ogbo from Western Sydney University, Australia; and members of the Global Maternal and Child Health Research Collaboration (GloMACH).

The scientists assessed data obtained from the Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS) where they sampled data from more than 24,000 married and/or cohabiting women across Tanzania.

In the study, published in the International Journal on Environmental Research and Public Health on January 27, 2022, the scientists recommend improving family planning uptake among married Tanzanian women and point out evidence showing that access and the use of modern family planning methods provide many health and socio-economic benefits to the mother, child, family, and community.

“For the mother, family planning use reduces the risk of unsafe abortion, the number of unintended pregnancies and associated complications, and improves women’s health by allowing mothers to have enough time to recover from birth-related health issues,” the scientists say.

“For the child, family planning reduces the risk of stillbirth and infant mortality by preventing closely spaced and unintended births, but it also allows the baby to have more time for breastfeeding; and for the family and community, family planning use can accelerate the socioeconomic development of the household and community by having more women in the workforce.”

The scientists also compared factors such as place of residence (rural and urban), parity, health facility visits, planning to have more children, women’s age, employment status (informal and formal), exposure to mass media, women’s independence, and participation in decision-making. These factors were either positively associated with the unmet need for family planning or associated with lower odds of having an unmet need for family planning – both in spacing or limiting births.

Based on the study findings, the scientists expect a positive impact on policy and practice regarding reducing the unmet need for family planning (limiting and spacing births) and have urged policymakers to formulate policies addressing family planning issues.

“Policy makers are expected to formulate policies that will address the issues related to the unmet need for family planning but also target all the attributes of unmet needs for family planning. Doing so will change the practice of health professionals, thereby helping to reach many women with unmet needs for family planning.”

>> Read article: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/20/3/2262