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“If I have only two children and they die… who will take care of me?” –a qualitative study exploring knowledge, attitudes and practices about family planning among Mozambican female and male adults

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Background: By focusing upon family planning counselling services, the Mozambican government has significantly
enhanced the general health of female and male clients. However, little is known about the experiences of family
planning by female and male adults. This article focuses on knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding
contraceptive methods and fertility intentions.
Methods: An in-depth qualitative study of female and male clients was conducted in two settings in Maputo
province – Ndlavela and Boane. A total of sixteen in-depth interviews, four informal conversations, and observations
were equally divided between both study sites. The analysis followed a constructionist approach. Three steps were
considered in the analysis: examining commonalities, differences and relationships.
Results: Although there was a high level of family planning knowledge, there were discrepancies in clients’
everyday practices. Male and female clients are confronted with a variety of expectations concerning fertility
intentions and family size, and are under pressure in numerous ways.
Social pressures include traditional expectations and meanings connected to having children, as well as religious
factors. Short interaction time between clients and health workers is a problem. Additionally, imposed contraceptive
methods, and typically brief conversations about birth control between couples only adds to the burden. Because
family planning is largely viewed as a woman’s concern, most clients have never attended counselling sessions
with their partners. Attitudes towards responsibility for contraceptive use and risk-taking are strongly gendered.
Conclusions: Female and male clients have differing expectations about contraceptive use and fertility intentions.
They participate differently in family planning programs leading to their inconsistent and ambivalent practices as
well as vague perceptions of risk-taking. Therefore, policymakers must address the reasons behind ambivalence and
inconsistency regarding contraceptives and family planning.
Keywords: Female and male involvement in family planning, Decision-making, Unwanted pregnancy,
Barriers to contraception, Mozambique
Journal: BMC Women's Health
ISSN: 1472-6874
Issue: 1
Volume: 17
Pages: 17-66
Publication year:2017
Keywords:Adult, Child, Contraception Behavior/psychology, Contraception/methods, Contraceptive Agents/therapeutic use, Family Characteristics, Family Planning Services, Female, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Humans, Male, Mozambique, Patient Acceptance of Health Care/psychology, Qualitative Research, Socioeconomic Factors