Women’s Perceptions and Attitudes toward Family Planning and Its Barriers in Poor Rural Settings: Advancing Rwanda’s Family Planning Policy
Family planning (FP) was identified as a national priority for poverty reduction and socioeconomic development by Rwanda’s government in 2012. On the other hand, rural areas continue to contribute to greater fertility rates. To aid in the successful implementation of family planning policies in poor rural communities, this study first investigated sociocultural perceptions and attitudes that stymie FP acceptance in poor rural households, and then inferred critical strategies that could be used to influence rural people’s perceptions and behaviour shifts in favour of contraception use and smaller family size to take advantage of smaller families’ health and educational opportunities.
A quantitative cross-sectional design determined FP use in homes, whereas a qualitative methodology investigated socio-cultural factors that hampered FP use. A total of 119 families with women of reproductive age (15–45) in Karongi District, Rwanda’s western province, were selected.
Social and cultural standards had little effect on contraception use (32.8%) or exclusively favoured natural methods (12.6 percent). Religious norms accounted for 38.5 percent of social norms, with Christianity (91.8 percent) promoting the use of natural techniques, preferably abstinence, rather than modern procedures (which were perceived as murdering children) (73.3 percent). Cultural norms (17.9%) influenced families to have a large number of children as a source of wealth, proof of productivity, and a way to relieve parents’ workloads, such as assisting mothers in family activities like cooking and assisting fathers in farming activities like keeping cows, goats, and pigs. Other attitudes included spousal rejection (men dominated in making FP decisions in households) (2.5 percent), and other non-users of modern procedures (28.2 percent) were concerned about negative effects.
In poor rural regions, religious, social, and cultural traditions have an impact on FP. Men and religious leaders should be targeted as essential partners who influence women’s decisions in order to accelerate FP adoption.
Public Health Sciences (Europubhealth+), Faculty of Medicine, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium