Men's participation in family planning: A case study of Chilanga
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This study was aimed at examining men’s participation in family planning in Chilanga, Kafue District of Lusaka Province of Zambia. What necessitated the study is the high maternal mortality rate in Zambia which is at 591 per 100,000 live births CSO et al. (2007). The study was motivated by concerns of reducing maternal mortality rate by 2015 as one of the yardsticks to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) on Reproductive Health. In this regard, men’s participation in family planning in Chilanga was viewed in the context of safe motherhood. In this study, the researcher sought to find out the role that men play in family planning, to establish the patterns and extent of their involvement and gender differences in attitudes towards family planning and family size. The type of study was a survey and the sample was randomly selected from the 4 Census Enumeration Areas of Chilanga Ward using Census Enumeration Frame developed for the 2000 Census of Population and Housing of the Republic of Zambia. In this study, simple random sampling was used and a sample of 200 people comprising both men and women was selected from Chilanga Ward. Primary data were collected by using semi-structured questionnaires and focus group discussions while secondary data were collected from various publications such as books, journals and reports. The findings of the study revealed that there is some level of male participation in family planning. The participation was mainly seen from the care and support that the male respondents gave to their wives during pregnancy and after delivery. As regards contraceptive use, the majority of men did not participate as this was seen as a preserve for women. Further findings revealed that men play an important role in decisions pertaining to family size as they made final decisions in that respect. The study also revealed that women who had lower educational levels and low or no sources of income were more likely to be submissive to their husbands thereby allowing their husbands to make almost all decisions on both family size and contraceptive use without engaging in mutual discussions. Further findings also revealed that family planning programs have made little effort to consider men’s reproductive health needs or to reach out to them and as a result men have few contacts with the reproductive health care system.