Men and Reproductive Decision-Making in Zambia

Author(s): Vijayan K. Pillai , Fang-Hsun Wei , Bonita Sharma .

Journal Name: Applied Clinical Research, Clinical Trials and Regulatory Affairs

Volume 3 , Issue 1 , 2016

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Graphical Abstract:


Background: In developing countries such as Zambia, couples seldom make decisions with regard to fertility solely in consultation with each other. At all stages of family formation couples are strongly persuaded by cultural and social norms. In additions couples are influenced by opinions and information provided by close friends and relatives in couple’s social net works. Social net works play an important role in enabling husbands seeks information with respect to planning births. One drawback of studies on expected fertility in developing countries is that they have not adequately addressed the impact of reproductive decision making on expected fertility. Consequently, though husbands strongly influence fertility decision making, fertility studies do not pay adequate attention to the role played by husbands in fertility decisions making. The objective of this study is to examine the development of a planning process with respect to timing and spacing of children.

Methods: The sample for this study consists of husbands from one hundred sixty three households randomly selected from low income communities located in Kitwe, Zambia. Two questionnaires, one for the husband and the other for the wife, were designed to gather data. Husbands and wives were interviewed simultaneously in order to limit opportunities for spouses to influence each other. We examine men’s fertility decision making by analyzing data on six questions: Can a couple ever have too many children?; Have you ever talked or received advice from any one about the best length of time to have between pregnancies?; Have you ever talked to or received advice from anyone on methods how to space your children or prevent pregnancy?; Have you and your husband/wife ever talked about the number of sons and daughters you would like to have before stopping?; Have you and your wife ever discussed the best length of time to have between pregnancies and finally, is it costly to have children today?

Results: Husbands who engaged in birth planning were more likely than the rest to believe that too many children are undesirable. In Zambia, a rational approach to the control of fertility among birth planers is realized in social settings rather than in isolation. The transition from natural fertility to controlled fertility is associated with modernization and accepting modern values. Knowledge of birth control is also essential and is often associated with increases in education. However, social networks also play an important role in reducing expected family size by facilitating a rational and planned approach to family building in Zambia.

Conclusion: Husbands were not averse to sharing information with group members in close social networks to arrive at decisions with respect to planning births. Recognition of the social milieu in which contraceptive use takes place is necessary for the promotion of modern contraception. Husband’s social networks significantly influence his fertility decisionmaking. Subsequently, from a policy point of view it appears crucial to facilitate the maintenance of the social networks involved in making contraceptive use decisions to promote prolonged use of modern contraception. The implications for family planning programs are discussed.

Keywords: Birth planning, expected fertility, latent class analysis, Zambia.

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Article Details

Year: 2016
Page: [20 - 26]
Pages: 7
DOI: 10.2174/2213476X03666160209222123

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PDF: 16