Obstet Gynecol. 2015 May;125 Suppl 1:66S-67S.

Improving Male Involvement in Family Planning in Rural Southeastern Nigeria

Bright C, Onwere SN, Onwere AC, Kamanu CI, Ndukwe PE and Chigbu E


Introduction: In Africa, men exact significant influence over women's reproductive health decisions, hence the need to enhance men's knowledge of family planning. The aim of this study was to ascertain the effect of educating men on female reproductive health and family planning.

Methods: A total of 150 male partners of antenatal attendees from 20 communities in rural southeastern Nigeria responded to an invitation to be part of a 3-day free participatory training session on family planning arranged for antenatal mothers in the month of June, 2012, at a rural health care facility. A pretest and posttest questionnaire was used to access men's knowledge and attitudes toward contraception, spousal communication, and contraceptive use. Fifty couples were followed up for 1 year through phone calls every 3 months.

Results: Average age of participants was 30 years for men (range 22-45 years) and 26 years for women (range 18-38 years). Men were older but less educated than their partners (66% of men and 48% of women attended primary education only). Men's knowledge of methods of contraception (ie, implants, male and female sterilization, intrauterine device, injectables) increased from 20% to 90% (P<.05). The proportion of men intending future use of family planning increased from 18% to 60%. All 50 couples that were followed up reported improved spousal communication on family planning.

Conclusions: Educating rural men on family planning improves their knowledge and may enhance contraceptive uptake by the women.

Comment: Not just in Africa, but in many low resource countries men have a big say over a woman’s use of family planning. This study from Nigeria shows how educating men can really help women to use safe and effective methods. (HMV)