Barriers to contraceptive use in Kenya.
This study was designed to identify and to better understand the barriers to contraceptive use among Kenyan-couples. Data were collected through structured interviews and focus group discussions among couples not planning for pregnancy and not using any effective contraceptive method. The study was conducted in the Baba Dogo urban slum area of Nairobi, and Chwele, a rural sub-location in Bungoma, western Kenya. Some important barriers to contraceptive use were identified in couples wishing to space or limit further births. Those barriers included lack of agreement on contraceptive use and on reproductive intentions; husband's attitude on his role as a decision maker; perceived undesirable side effects, distribution and infant mortality; negative traditional practices and desires such as naming relatives, and preference for sons as security in old age. There were also gaps in knowledge on contraceptive methods, fears, rumours and misconceptions about specific methods and unavailability or poor quality of services in the areas studied. This paper recommends that information and educational programmes should be instituted to increase contraceptive knowledge, to emphasise the value of quality of life over traditional reproductive practices and desires, and to improve availability and quality of services.
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