Limits to modern contraceptive use among young women in developing countries
posted on: Feb 27, 2009
A new systematic review of qualitative research has demonstrated that young women's use of modern contraceptive methods in five developing countries is limited by a range of factors, which centre on lack of knowledge, obstacles to access, and lack of control.
The review, led by Dr Lisa Williamson and published in Reproductive Health, found that use of hormonal methods was limited by lack of knowledge, obstacles to access and concern over side effects, especially fear of infertility. Although often more accessible, and sometimes more attractive than hormonal methods, condom use was limited by association with disease and promiscuity, together with greater male control. As a result young women often relied on traditional methods or abortion.
Literature searches of 23 databases, including Medline, Embase and POPLINE®, were conducted, and of the 12 studies which met the inclusion criteria, seven met the quality criteria and were included in the review (six from sub-Saharan Africa; one from South-East Asia). Although the review was limited to five countries and conditions are probably not the same for all young women in all developing countries, the overarching themes were common across different settings and contexts, supporting the potential transferability of interventions to improve reproductive health. The authors concluded that interventions should aim to counter negative perceptions of modern contraceptive methods and the dual role of condoms for contraception and STI prevention should be exploited, despite the challenges involved.