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Factors Affecting Unmet Need for Family Planning In Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, Ethiopia

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BACKGROUND: High fertility and low contraceptive prevalence characterize Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region. In such populations, unmet needs for contraception have a tendency to be high, mainly due to the effect of socio-economic and demographic variables. However, there has not been any study examining the relationship between these variables and unmet need in the region. This study, therefore, identifies the key socio- demographic determinants of unmet need for family planning in the region. METHODS: The study used data from the 2000 and 2005 Ethiopian Demographic and Health Surveys. A total of 2,133 currently married women age 15-49 from the 2000 survey and 1,988 from the 2005 survey were included in the study. Unmet need for spacing, unmet need for limiting and total unmet need were used as dependent variables. Socio- demographic variables (respondent’s age, age at marriage, number of living children, sex composition of living children, child mortality experience, place of residence, respondent’s and partner’s education, religion and work status) were treated as explanatory variables and their relative importance was examined on each of the dependent variables using multinomial and binary logistic regression models. RESULTS: Unmet need for contraception increased from 35.1% in 2000 to 37.4% in 2005. Unmet need for spacing remained constant at about 25%, while unmet need for limiting increased by 20% between 2000 and 2005. Age, age at marriage, number of living children, place of residence, respondent’s education, knowledge of family planning, respondent’s work status, being visited by a family planning worker and survey year emerged as significant factors affecting unmet need. On the other hand, number of living children, education, age and age at marriage were the only explanatory variables affecting unmet need for limiting. Number of living children, place of residence, age and age at marriage were also identified as factors affecting total unmet need for contraception. CONCLUSION: unmet need for spacing is more prevalent than unmet need for limiting. Women with unmet need for both spacing and limiting are more likely to be living in rural areas, have lower level of education, lower level of knowledge about family planning methods, have no work other than household chores, and have never been visited by a family planning worker. In order to address unmet need for family planning in the region, policy should set mechanisms to enforce the law on minimum age for marriage, improve child survival and increase educational access to females. In addition, the policy should promote awareness creation about family planning in rural areas. KEYWORDS: Contraceptive use, Family Planning, Fertility, Unmet Need, spacing, limiting


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