Communication-based factors influencing the choice of long acting and permanent methods of contraception (LAPMS) of family planning among rural women in Kajiado District

This study set out to discover the factors that influence the uptake of the class of Long-acting and permanent methods of cont;aception (LAPMs), the most effective and sustainable modem contraceptives in avoiding and spacing child-bearing. The purpose of the study was to understand the trend of contraceptive use in Kenya with the aim of informing family planning programs by enabling them to procure and distribute adequate quantities of desired and appropriate methods. The main objective of the study was to examine some of the cultural and socio-economic factors that led to the adoption and non-adoption of LAPMs in Kenya with specific reference to Maasai women. It also set out to determine the main structural challenges in their promotion within communities. The study was an exploratory survey that targeted 70 respondents. The sample was derived from a population of 144,901 reproductive-age women in the Kajiado District. A questionnaire was administered on a random sample of 69 Maasai women and medical officers from 3 health facilities. The information was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). Findings from the questionnaire were augmented by Focus Group Discussions with the women, face-to-face interviews with medical officers in the district and secondary data from research in the library, bio-social health journals and the internet. The findings indicate that although Maasai communities still prefer larger families, they could slowly be modernizing as well as succumbing to economic pressures in favor of smaller families. Access to contraceptives and good healthcare service in Kajiado has also improved greatly. However, factors such as long distances and health complications still contribute to the low use rate of contraceptives among the Maasai. Uptake of LAPMs continues to be marred by lack of awareness and support from spouses, high ignorance levels amongst women in the lower reproductive age bracket, preference of traditional over modem methods of contraception, long distances to nearest health care providers, want of more children and health/side-effects factors. The study recommends that health workers should be equipped with up-to-date knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes on provision of LAPMs for all potential users with an emphasis on sensitive, friendly and professional service, including the provision of adequate counseling. Community awareness, knowledge, and acceptability of LAPMs should be increased so as to gamer ownership, support.and participation by implementing culturally appropriate behavioral change communication (BCC) to enhance the acceptability and use of LAPMs. Community sensitization and mobilization activities should also be implemented. Use of radio and social networks as channels of information and communication are also effective in promoting and bursting myths that mar uptake. Security of commodities/supplies and the equipment necessary for the provision of a complete method mix, and improved LAPM services should be achieved by lobbying for increased funding of and commitment to procurement of reproductive commodities by the Government.