Using Survey Data to Identify Opportunities to Reach Women with an Unmet Need for Family Planning: The Example of Madagascar
Author(s): Meekers D, Ratovonanahar R, Andrianantoandro T, Randrianarisoa H
In several African countries fertility levels have stagnated or increased slightly. However, many women still report an unmet need for family planning. Therefore achieving further fertility declines requires programs that increase demand for family planning, but that also address the existing unmet need. One way to improve contraceptive access in a cost-effective manner might be to integrate family planning services into other existing health services.
This paper analyzes secondary data from the 2012–2013 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) survey in Madagascar to estimate the number of women with an unmet need for family planning that might benefit from integrating family planning services into other health services. In Madagascar, one third of the demand for family planning is not met; an estimated 820,000 women have an unmet need for family planning. A substantial portion of these women can be reached by integrating family planning services into existing maternal and child health services. Health providers are uniquely positioned to help address method-related reasons for non-use of family planning, such as concerns about health problems and side-effects. Given the large unmet need for family planning, programs should not exclusively focus on increasing the demand for family planning, but also seek new ways to address the existing unmet need.
Our study illustrates that simple analyses of existing health survey data can be an important tool for informing the design of programs to tackle this unmet need.
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