This study examined gender dimension in the use of family planning services in Awka South L.G.A, Anambra State. The objectives of the study were to examine the perception of the relevance of family planning services, the extent of awareness of family planning methods outlets, factors affecting acceptance and utilization of family and strategic measures to be put in place to encourage the use of family planning services in Awka South L.G.A, Anambra State. The study was anchored on Health Belief Model (H.B.M) and Liberal Feminism theories as its theoretical framework. The sample size for the study was 200.The study participants were both married and unmarried people ranging from 18 and above living in Awka South L.G.A, Anambra State. Tphe multi-stage sampling technique which include cluster, systematic and simple random sample techniques was adopted in selecting the study sample. The questionnaire schedule and In-Depth Interview guide were used as the quantitative and qualitative instrument of data collection respectively. The data was analyzed using SPSS, simple frequency distribution tables and simple percentages, while two hypotheses were tested using Chi-Square (X2) test statistics. The findings revealed that family planning is great of relevance to couples in Awka South Local Government Area and several men and women were aware of family planning services but majority of them do not use artificial or modern methods of family planning. It was also established that there are effects of non-use of family planning on individuals,families and the larger society. The study also revealed that low level of education, lack of communication between partners religious beliefs, fear of side effects and cultural preference of large family size are the major factors that affect the use of family planning in Awka South L.G.A .Based on the findings, it was recommended among others that government through the health workers should organize seminars on family planning programmes for male and female members of the public in order to encourage uptake of family planning methods.
`CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
- Background to the Study.
The developed economies of the world have advanced in the goal of achieving a balance between population growth rate and economic resources. In view of this, measures have been taken which include family planning, sex education, among others in controlling such growth. The major aim borne in mind towards effecting this policy is the general standard of living of citizen. To this effect, modern family planning method in addition to natural family planning mode have been developed and improved upon in the recent past.
Family planning has become an important population issue of many countries. It is considered as part of national population/health policies or programmes. Inspite of the hue and cry in and outside Nigeria about family planning or birth control, many people are still confused about its meaning, the method involve, advantages and disadvantages and the factors hindering its wide application in Nigeria. Improving reproductive health is central to achieving the sustainable Development Goals.(SDGS) on improving maternal health, reducing child mortality eradicating extreme poverty, promoting gender equality and empowering women to have access to safe and effective methods of fertility control. The promotion of family planning so that men and women can avoid unwanted pregnancy is central to the world health organization (WHO) work on improving maternal health and core to achieving the S.D.G.S (Cleland Bernstein, Ezeh, FaundersGlasier and Inms 2006).
The decision of when or even whether to have children is a human right that all people must enjoy. The 2016 total fertility in Nigeria is 5.13% from 5.89% recorded previously. (Cia world factbook 2016) women are usually socially and economically dependent on their husbands, this may have contributed to Nigeria becoming a country in Africa with the Fastest population growth averaging 5.2 births per women and with attendant high maternal and child mortality (Ijadunola et al, 2010)
.Furthermore, rapid population growth make it difficult for the Nigerian economy to create enough jobs particularly for women and youths of life large numbers of people out of poverty maintain healthy living condition and protect the environment (Ityai, 2000, world population Data Sheet, 2013). This underscores the need to step up family planning practices in Nigerian which is presently affected by gender imbalance as a result of non involvement of men.
The World Health Organization (2001) defined family planning as the practice that helps individuals or couples to attain certain objectives such as avoiding unwanted pregnancies bringing about unwanted babies at the right time regulating the interval between pregnancies, controlling the time at which birth occurs in relation to the ages of the parents and determing the number of children in the family.
Family planning which is widely defined as the prevention unwanted pregnancies through the use of family planning such as contraceptive, pill coil loop diaphragm. According to the Planned Parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN, 2012). Family planning is the spacing of birth for health and welfare of mothers and children. It could be described as counseling and disseminating of information on birth control with the object of making it possible for parents to achieve the desired number of children they want. Both government and non government agencies inform of voluntary organization purposely promote family planning activities. Therefore, family planning could be said to be part of health policy as well as population policy.
In addition, gender which is more of not biological but role one play within their families and society are assigned to them, and are shaped by the societal beliefs in which the person is born into or lives in (Oakley, 1980 Cited in Ngum, 2012). Gender which is more of a social construct rather than biological make up cultivates the seed of discrimination between masculinity and feminity.This gender factors affects the personality building of the female folk. Oftentimes, the cultural setting make women powerless in taking decision concerning them. They are disadvantaged and even powerless to pursue the reproductive health services they need or prefer. They are cajoled into options dictated by menfolk (spouses).
Traditionally, Nigeria has recognized the need for spacing births for examples, abstinence while breastfeeding has been widely practiced in Nigeria in the olden days and according to wolf and Abubukar (2008), it is still practiced in Nigeria across the northern part of Nigeria as a method of child spacing. Nnaocha (2002) observed that traditional ways used to prevent pregnancy in the olden days include prolonged lactation, postnatal and sexual abstinence and polygamy, that is husband pressure for intercourse is reduced because of too many wives, other methods include charms/armlets and herbs. With the increased population and disease as stated by Lordson (2012), the traditional ways have become obsolete and modern family planning methods for child spacing have been adopted. With the economic state of the nation, couples begin to face unwanted pregnancies.
This study therefore, is posed to evaluate the gender dimension in the use family planning services in Awka South L.G.A of Anambra State.
- Statement of the Problem
Nigeria faces problems of population explosion, poverty among others. Also the importance of fertility decision is lowly appreciated. Issues are critical for social and economic development. The use of family planning has been identified to aid and reduce fertility. Nigeria has a population of about 140 million and population growth rate of 3 percent per annum (NPC 2003) Nigeria is African Giant and tenth largest country in the world (United Nations 2001, 1994: 9) with this the reasons for unacceptable high level of fertility and low use of family planning are complex and diverse. In the Nigeria setting, the women status is largely a product of her child bearing within marriage that of man is the ability to have the children he wants with the male child as a priority Monjok et al (2000) research conducted which Nigerian women and men suggested that men and women are aware of family planning but they believed family planning have harm, side effects.
Men and women’s level of education is one of the factors that may affect their perception about family planning. Education is related to men and women access to and utilization of family planning because it equips them with information to make better decision in their fertility control. On the contrary insufficient knowledge of family planning services brings about low utilization of family planning (Republic of Kenta, 2008).
Religion is another factor affecting the use of birth control method, some religious organization and group criticize the concept of fertility control because of the belief that procreation is the making of God as cited in Biblical terms “Go into the world, increase and multiply and fill the earth. Genesis chapter I verses 27 and 28, Okogie (1998) noted that the Catholic bishop of Lagos Arch-diocese quoted that he would encourage Catholics to disobey birth control laws and obey the laws of God, even if at gun point and also that children are gift from god which cannot be rejected whenever they come.
Kishor (1993) Stated that women in poor countries have limited access to birth control that the cultural traditions over whelming favour males. The United Nations development programme championed eight major areas where position of women need to be further equalized which include the autonomy of the body (Control over reproduction and the problem of Violence).In most African societies children are seen as wealth (Mukoro, 2001). This belief that male children are important in any family so that family name will not die which makes it difficult for them, especially when they are only giving birth to female children is another factor militating against the use of family planning and don’t understand that it is harmful to the society. A lot of researcher have identified a great deal of factors affecting family planning services much less is known about how male and female roles, social, economic and religious influences the use of family planning services in Awka South L.G.A of Anambra State. Against the background of above problems, this study aimed at understanding the gender dimension to the use of family planning services in Awka South local Government Area of Anambra State.
- Research Questions
The following will serve as research questions to this study.
- In what ways do male and female genders in Awka south L.G.A of Anambra State differ in their perception of the relevance of family planning services in their area?
- To what extent are male and female genders informed/aware of family planning methods and services outlets in Awka south L.G.A of Anambra State?
- Which gender (male or Female) is more proactive and uses family planning options for birth control in Awka south L.G.A of Anambra State?
- What are the factors affecting acceptance and Utilization of family planning among male and female in Awka south L.G.A of Anambra State?
- What measures should be put in place to improve the use of family planning services by men and female gender in Awka South L.G.A of Anambra State?
- Objectives of the Study
The general Objectives of this study is to examine gender dimension in the use of family planning services in Awka South L.G.A Anambra State.
The specific Objective of the study are:
- To find out the ways male and female gender in Awka south L.G.A of Anambra State differ in their perception of the relevance of family planning services in their area.
- To evaluate the extent to which male and female gender are informed/aware of family planning methods and services outlets in Awka south L.G.A of Anambra State.
- To identify the gender (male or female) that is more proactive and uses family planning options available for birth control in Awka South L.G.A ofAnambra State.
- To know the factors affecting acceptance and utilization of family planning among men and female in Awka South L.G.A of Anambra State.
- To examine measures put in place to encourage the use of family planning services by men and female gender in Awka South L.G.A of Anambra State.
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