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KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICES OF THE RURAL WOMEN TOWARDS ADOPTION OF FAMILY PLANNING METHODS

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Abstract

Education has been recognized as an essential impetus for social change and development in case of the individual and society.. The linkage between adoption of family planning and literacy are known to be stronger. Knowledge on nutrition, childcare and health could be communicated better to literate. Women constitute a significant section of the Indian society. The rural women experience poor socio-economic status, when compared to men. They stand apart distinctly from their urban counterparts who have better living conditions and exposure to modernity. This difference between rural and urban women becomes vivid in social, and living condition of the Indian rural women is that “Tired, Over-worked, Under-nourished, Powerless and unorganized”. Rural women’s knowledge base is average because of their living conditions and their knowledge base is now slowly increasing. In this paper the authors has tried to understand the impact of literacy on rural women about their knowledge of family planning and also the practice of family planning methods. Utilization of these methods, sources of information, problems in the adoption of different practices and perceptions towards family planning and methods of adoption and causes for non-adoption are also discussed. The findings of the paper, can be concluded that knowledge has an impact on the rural women in the adoption of family planning methods.
KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICES OF THE RURAL WOMEN TOWARDS ADOPTION
OF FAMILY PLANNING METHODS
B.S. Vasudeva Rao,
P. Viswanadha Gupta
“To awaken the people, it is the women who must be awakened. Once she is on the
move, the family moves, the village moves and the nation moves” – Jawaharlal Nehru
Every developing nation should believe that education is the heart of the development
process. Development in the quality of the life of people as a significant whole is also the quality
of the life of each individual. Education has been recognized as an essential impetus for social
change and development in case of the individual and society. Hence, to think of harmonious
development without educating the women is impossible, as it has been rightly believed that to
educate women is to educate the whole family. Educational status is closely linked to other
manifestations of gender inequality and this is the important factor for social change.
Empowerment is a process of awareness and capacity building leading to greater
participation, to greater decision making, power and control and to transformative action and this
can only be possible to the literate individual. The linkage between adoption of family planning
and literacy are known to be stronger. Adoption rates are higher among literate females
compared to illiterates. Knowledge on nutrition, childcare and health could be communicated
better to literate.
Women constitute a significant section of the Indian society. The rural women
experience poor socio-economic status, when compared to men. They stand apart distinctly from
their urban counterparts who have better living conditions and exposure to modernity. This
difference between rural and urban women becomes vivid in social, and living condition of the
Indian rural women is that “Tired, Over-worked, Under-nourished, Powerless and unorganized”.
Rural women’s knowledge base is average because of their living conditions and their
knowledge base is now slowly increasing. Education is not perceived as priority area in their
daily battle for food, water, fuel and subsistence chores for the survival of their family. India is
the first country to adopt official birth control programme in the world. But the results are not as
expected. If the desired and the expected family size is in accordance with the national norms
and is achieved by the adoption of effective contraceptive methods, the birth and growth rate of
the population can be reduced to a level where the country can assume better standards of living.
Contraceptive is a technique used for preventing unwanted pregnancies. By adoption of
the contraceptive methods births can be prevented or postponed without any obstruction to the
sexual harmony of the people. It is very important to know the behavior of the people towards of
the contraceptive methods indicate the effectiveness of the family planning programme in the
study area. The study of the family planning behavior of the couple is very important in
understanding the development of National Family Planning Programme.
In this report the investigators has tried to understand the impact of literacy on rural
women about their knowledge of family planning and also the practice of family planning
methods. Utilization of these methods, sources of information, problems in the adoption of
different practices and perceptions towards family planning and methods of adoption and causes
for non-adoption are also discussed.
Objective of the study: The major objectives of the study are:
1. To find out the knowledge and practice about the Family Planning methods.
2. To find out the extent of awareness about the family planning methods.
3. To study the problems in adopting and practicing family planning methods.
Local and sample of the study
In order to study the knowledge, awareness and practices of contraception and family
planning methods of rural women, the Gantyadamandal of Vizianagaram district in Andhra
Pradesh has been chosen. Two villages i.e, Pollanki and Neelavathi were selected from the
mandal. From each village, 50 women respondents were selected randomly.
Tools used in the study: An interview schedule was prepared for the purpose of the data
collection and administered to the sample.
Major findings of the study
Profile of the sample: Socio-economic variable are considered to be the most important
factors which influence the quality of people in the community. The quality of life depends upon
the prevailing socio-economic situation in the community. These variables should be examined
to know their effect on demographic processes of the community.
Table: Personal Characteristics of the Women Respondents
Characteristics Frequency %
Age Group
20 years below 01 01.00
21-30 31 31.00
31-40 33 33.00
Above 40 35 35.00
Social Group
Scheduled Caste 06 06.00
Scheduled Tribe 02 02.00
Backward Caste 89 89.00
Other Caste 03 03.00
Education
Illiterate 48 48.00
Primary level 18 18.00
Secondary level 22 22.00
Inter and above 12 12.00
Occupation
Agriculture 62 62.00
Agriculture Labour 13 13.00
Unemployment 07 07.00
House wife 12 12.00
Others 06 06.00
Family Type
Joint 16 16.00
Nucleus 84 84.00
The above table shows that majority of women respondents i.e. 35 in number are in the
age group of 40 years and above 33, women respondent are in between 31 to 40 years of age, 31
women are in between 21-30 years and only one respondent is below 20 years. Regarding
their social class 89 percent of the women respondents are from backward caste, 6 percent of the
members are from schedule caste and three women belong to other caste. And only two
respondents belong to scheduled tribe. The mandal is thickly populated with backward class
community.
The educational qualifications of the sample respondents indicates that 22 percent of the
sample women are having secondary level qualification and 18 per cent of the sample women are
having primary level qualification, and only 12 percent of the respondents have completed
intermediate and above. The remaining forty eight respondents are illiterate. The
occupational pattern of the sample respondents indicates that 62 percent of the women are
engaged in the agricultural work. Twelve percent are housewives and remaining twenty six
percent are engaged as daily wage laborers. The type of the family environment may influence
the awareness and practice of the family welfare measures. Majority of the women i.e. 84 percent
of the respondents belongs to nuclear family category and 16 percent of the women respondents
are in joint family.
Knowledge of family planning
S. No Group Number Mean SD t-Value
1 Literature 52 4.82 1.85
6.26*
2 Illiterate 48 2.86 1.21
*Significant at 0.01 level
In the initial stage, when the family planning programmes was started in 1953, a few
knew about the existence of modern contraceptive methods. Then communication was the main
task for the government. The role of communication in the family planning is to inform the
people about family planning, motivate them towards adoption of small family norm. Due to the
above situation an attempt was made to know whether the respondents have the knowledge and
awareness on contraception and family planning process.
Source of Information about family planning
S. No Source of Information Number of Respondents
Literate (N=52) Illiterate
(N=48)
Total
1 A.N.M./Health workers 6(11.53) 6(12.50) 12(12.00)
2 Friends / Relatives 21(40.38) 36(57.00) 57(75.00)
3 Media 13(25.00) 4(17.00) 17(08.33)
4 Self 12 (23.07) 2(04.16) 14(14.00)
(Percentage are indicated in the parenthesis)
The knowledge on the family planning methods of literate and illiterate groups are pooled
together and presented in the above table. The obtained mean knowledge on family planning
methods of these groups revealed that the literate women respondents have obtained more than
the mean compared to illiterate women. The calculated‘t’ value is 6.26, which is more than the
table value. It indicates that the difference between mean knowledge on family planning
methods is significant, leading to the conclusion that the impact of the education on the rural
women respondent’s on knowledge of family planning methods is significant. Hence, the
illiterate women should be made aware by the Government and Voluntary agencies in the
national cause.
The above table shows that the knowledge on the source of information for the 57 (21
literate and 36 illiterate) percent respondents was from friends and relatives. Next major source
of information was ANMs, as reported by 12 (6 literate and 6 illiterate) respondents. It was
observed from the data that the role of media is insignificant. There is necessarily on the part of
media and Government to organize more environment building activities and field publicity
programmes. Here, it can be mentioned that the services of student youth on vacations to create
awareness in the masses on the usefulness of small family, may be better effective.
Use of Contraception
S. No Source of Information Number of Respondents
Literate (N=52) Illiterate Total
(N=48)
1 Yes 45
(86.53)
35
(72.91)
80
(80.00)
2 No 7
(13.46)
13
(27.08)
20
(20.00)
(Percentage are indicated in parenthesis)
The contraceptives use refers to the couples, as the use includes family planning by
women or men. Among all the women respondents, only 20 (7 literate and 13 illiterate women
respondents) are not using any of the modern spacing methods. Both literate and illiterate are
equally utilizing the contraceptive methods but in case of non-practicing the literate women are
more in percentage. Thus, it can be concluded literacy has a significant role to play in this
regard.
Utilization of Contraception
S. No Source of Information Number of Respondents
Literate (N=52) Illiterate
(N=48)
Total
1 Tubectomy 35
(67.30)
30
(65.50)
65
(65.00)
2 Vasectomy 3
(05.76)
0
(0.00)
3
(03.00)
3 Loop 6
(11.53)
0
(0.00)
6
(06.00)
4 Pill 5
(09.61)
0
(0.00)
5
(05.00)
5 Condom 3
(05.76)
0
(0.00)
3
(03.00)
(Percentage are indicated in parenthesis)
According to the above table almost all the users of family planning methods in the study
area prefer modern methods. Among the modern methods the choice is on permanent methods
i.e. as 65 percent of the users adopted female sterilization namely Tubectomy. The prevalence of
the male sterilization is extremely low. Only three literate women reported that their husbands
were sterilized. The contraceptive prevalence rate due to modern methods in the literate and
illiterate women of the study area has much difference. Only eighteen illiterate women have not
responded to any information duet to their ignorance. All the illiterate women respondents
adopted for permanent method and in case of literate female besides tubectomy, also practicing
other methods like using Condoms, tablets and loop. Efforts have to be made by the health
personnel to make the illiterate to adopt other temporary methods. The literate women are in a
position to adopt multiple methods.
Health Problems
S. No Source of Information Number of Respondents
Literate (N=52) Illiterate
(N=48)
Total
1 Yes 8
(15.38)
11
(22.91)
19
(19.00)
2 No 37
(71.15)
31
(64.58)
68
(68.00)
3 Don’t know 7
(13.46)
6
(12.50)
13
(13.00)
(Percentage are indicated in parenthesis)
The incidence of health problems, side effects, treatment seeking behavior, follow-up
after use are presented in the above table. Before giving the family planning services / supplies
health workers are expected to inform the user about the possible health problems/side effects
associated with the use of that method. Among the users, 68 (37 literate and 31 illiterate) percent
of the respondents reported that they have no side effects of the method they use. However, only
19 (18 literate and 11 illiterate) percent of women respondents reported that the side effects were
experienced. About 13 (7 illiterates and 6 literates) of the users are unable to express about their
health problems. There is a unable to express about their health problems. There is variation of
opinion among literate and illiterate respondents.
Willingness to use of family planning method
S. No Source of Information Number of Respondents
Literate (N=52) Illiterate
(N=48)
Total
1 Yes 45
(86.53)
38
(79.16)
83
(83.00)
2 No 7
(13.46)
10
(20.83)
17
(17.00)
(Percentage are indicated in parenthesis)
The respondents were asked about their willingness to use in future family planning in
view of their awareness and the fact that they might have practiced family planning. Majority 83
(45 literate and 38 illiterate) of the respondents positively responded. Only 17 (7 literate and 10
illiterate) women respondents did not express any opinion. Literacy has an influence in future
practice also.
Reasons for not Practicing Family Planning Methods
Since some of respondents were not practicing family planning methods, an attempt was
made to know the reasons or their unfavorable attitude and presented as follows:
1. Side effects like pain in the legs, weakness and comfortableness in the body by using
medicines of birth control.
2. Desire to deliver another child and use again after first delivery.
3. Non cooperation, unwillingness and pressure from elders to discontinue.
4. By using medicine, we feel it effects on health status.
5. The usage of medicines to birth control may cause harm in future born babies. This kind
of fear psychosis developed among the village women.
6. Traditional and Religious attitude of family members.
7. The women respondents have the opinion that the methods are difficult to practice.
Implication of the study
Based on the finding of the study, the following measures are suggested.
1. The significance of contraceptive for healthy and happy married life has to be illustrated
through counseling and awareness programmes.
2. Awareness programmes have to be planned for rural women apart from providing
knowledge, which should aim at clarifying their doubts and misconception, Question box
method, focus group discussions and health camps and counseling may prove to be
effective in this direction.
3. The policies and programmes developed for rural women should keep in view that
development of own is not independent of or in isolation of their place in family and
society.
4. The mass media and field publicity department has to play an effective role in creating
awareness about small family norms.
It can be concluded that literacy has an impact on the rural women in the adoption of
family planning methods.
REFERENCES
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Chenchu Lakshmi, A.(2005) “A Study on the opinion of Rural women towards Fertility Adoption
of Family Welfare methods and Health Status in Relation to their Educational
Background in Vizianagaram district”, unpublished M.A. Dissertation, Andhra
University, Visakhapatnam.
Neeraja, P.(2004) “Utilization of Maternal, Child Health and Family Planning Services by the
Rural Women” Evaluation Studies, Edited Volume, The Associated Publishers,
AmbalaCantt,
Vasudeva Rao, B.S and Subba Rao, D (1984) “Adult and Continuing Education: Some
Perspectives” Rural Development Publications, A.P.
Vasudeva Rao, B.S et al (1994) Total Literacy Campaign of Visakhapatnam district: An
Evaluation Report, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam.
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