Determinants of demand for modern family planning services among women of reproductive age: acase of Igembe South sub-county, Meru county, Kenya
The Kenya government, in collaboration with other stakeholders involved in the provision of family planning services, have put in place various strategies and policies to increase uptake of family planning services. These are aimed at increasing contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR), reduction in both total fertility rate (TFR) and unmet need for family planning services. Despite the various strategies and policies, total fertility rate still remains high at 4.6 percent, while CPR and unmet need for family planning are estimated at 46 percent and 24 percent, respectively. The purpose of the study was to examine the determinants of demand for modern family planning services among women of reproductive age in Kenya: A case of Igembe South Sub-County. The study objectives included the influence of income, cultural expectations, level of education and extent to which level of awareness influences demand for modern family planning services among women of reproductive age in Igembe South SubCounty. The study reviewed existing literature and used the socioecological model and identified a knowledge gap to be addressed through a cross-sectional household survey; targeting women aged between 15-49 years. This was conducted using a descriptive research design and an interviewer-administered questionnaire was administered to 289 participants on consenting to be part of the research. The findings showed that uptake of modern family planning services was quite low at 36% while awareness of modern family planning services was also low in that among those who had heard about modern family planning services, only 42% of them were on modern family planning methods. Those within the age of 25-30 were the majority in seeking family planning services. Among those on family planning services 66% of them were married while 36% of them had attained at least primary level education. Majority of the women said that they sought for family planning services in private health facilities at 57% while they get information regarding family planning services from doctors at 44% compared to the media at 2%.Among the major findings of this study was that 42% of the respondents said they travel for more than 10 kilometers to seek for family planning services compared to 9% who lived less than a kilometer away from the health facilities. It is across this bridge that primary health care may advance understanding individual and community-level barriers to uptake of modern family planning services, improving healthcare worker performance by identifying effective methods for training, supporting and supervising community health care workers, identifying and evaluating strategies to strengthen the links between need for service and it’s uptake and identifying the optimal program design, outcomes and costs given the number ofcompeting public health priorities facing the rural Kenyan women of reproductive age. It is hoped that thefindings and recommendations of this study will be useful to the Ministry of health and otherstakeholders to review its policies to increase the demand for modern family planning services in health facilities. It is also hoped that the findings may also form a significant referencematerial to researchers in conducting modern family planning studies.