Sociocultural Constraints Limiting the Use of Family Planning Methods in Rural Tanzania
Lakshmi Nemani, Columbia University
Colin D. Baynes, Columbia University
Mustafa Njozi, Ifakara Health Institute (IHI)
Women’s ability to utilize modern family planning methods in rural Tanzania depends on their individual characteristics, service accessibility, and sociocultural context. Although the sociodemographic, geographic, and financial factors affecting contraceptive usage have been described in the literature, the social and cultural factors affecting access to contraception have not been well explained. In 2013, the Connect Project conducted eight semi-structured focus group discussions (FGDs) with purposively sampled community members from four villages in Kilombero and Ulanga districts. This paper attempts to answer two questions using this qualitative data: 1) what are the sociocultural constraints that shape the service-seeking behavior for family planning and 2) how do these constraints interact with other barriers present in the service delivery system to affect utilization? Describing these factors will improve the understanding of how rural Tanzanian men and women perceive and utilize contraceptives, allowing for programmatic and policy improvements increasing usage of family planning services.