Levels, Trends, and Determinants of Female Covert Use of Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa

Natalie Gasca, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Stan Becker, Johns Hopkins University

In Sub-Saharan African substantial numbers of in-union women use contraceptives without their partner’s knowledge. Covert use is not ideal but is employed due to threats of violence, societal repercussions, and partner tension. Four hypotheses are explored: (1) Covert use declines as contraceptive prevalence increases; (2) Estimates of covert use are lower when women can report two methods; (3) Covert use is more prevalent among women who are older, less educated, in rural areas, and in relationships with substantial differences between partner ages or schooling; and (4) Injectable contraception is more prevalent among covert users than open users. We utilized DHS couple reports from 9 SSA countries that had experienced a 10% increase in modern contraceptive use in recent years. Injectables were used more frequently by covert than open users. Findings from this study can aid family planning programs in understanding the demand for certain methods.

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Presented in Session 1: Couple and Relationship Influences on Contraceptive Use