Factors influencing male involvement in family planning decisions in Kenya: a case of Nairobi Province, Kenya
Figures from the Kenya's Ministry of Health show that between 1976, the year the family planning campaigns began, and 1995, Kenya's birth rates dropped only slightly. The reason, according to the Family Planning Association of Kenya (FP AK), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), was mainly because many men rejected the use of contraceptives. This study was carried out to explore factors influencing male involvement in family planning decisions in Nairobi Province, Kenya. Specifically, the study sought to assess male awareness of contraceptive methods; assess the level of male practice of family planning and assess the level of spousal communication in family planning decision making in Nairobi Province. In order to achieve the research objectives, the research design was based on descriptive research. The target population was males and females in Nairobi Province aged 15 years and above with a sample size of 200 male and 100 female selected through simple random sampling. Primary data was collected using household questionnaires and interview guides which were tested for validity and reliability. Data from the questionnaires was analyzed using descriptive statistics while the interviews were analyzed through content analysis. Findings from the study show that there is high awareness of contraceptive methods among the males in Nairobi Province but the awareness and practice is higher among the higher income bracket. In addition, the study shows that discussions regarding family planning are not widely discussed among couples and when they are, it is women who usually initiate the discussion. The study therefore concludes that most of the males in Nairobi Province are aware of the modem family planning methods but the level of practice is still low. The study also concludes that the level of spousal communication of family planning issues in Nairobi Province is still below average. The results of the study give a picture of the status of reproductive health responsibilities in Kenya and particularly among the urban population in Nairobi Province by establishing the extent of male involvement in family planning decisions. Finally, the results also contribute to the growing body of knowledge in reproductive health and especially on the role of men in reproductive health. Academic researchers interested in carrying out more studies in this area will find the results of the study a useful guide in their reproductive health studies.