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PLoS One. 2016 Apr 7;11(4):e0153313. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153313. eCollection 2016.

Socio-Economic Disparities in Use of Family Planning Methods among Pakistani Women: Findings from Pakistan Demographic and Health Surveys.

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School of Public Health, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan.
Department of Biochemistry, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan.
Dr. Ishrat ul Ibad Institute of Oral Health Sciences, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan.
Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Public Health, University of Glasgow, 1-Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow, United Kingdom, G12 8RZ.



Several developing countries like Pakistan step into Sustainable Development Goals period with crucial maternal and child health needs that need to be addressed for improving health outcomes among people. We aim to explore existent socio-economic disparities in use of family planning methods (FPM) among Pakistani women, and compare any such inequalities between the years 2006 and 2013.


Pakistan Demographic and Health Surveys (PDHS) 2006-7 (n = 9177) and the most recent 2012-13(n = 13558) data were used to conduct secondary analysis. Participants were ever married women aged between 15 and 49 years. Socio-economic status was assessed by the education level and wealth index. Inequalities were measured through Odds Ratio (OR), Relative Index of inequality (RII), and Slope index of inequality (SII) on non-use of FPM.


Although the prevalence of FPM use has increased over time (28% in 2006 versus 54% in 2013), the socio-economic inequalities persistently exist. Comparing results of PDHS 2006 with PDHS 2013, education related absolute inequalities among urban dwellers increased from -0.41 (95% CI -0.67, -0.13, p-value < 0.01) to -0.83 (95% CI -1.02, -0.63, p-value < 0.01); and increased from -0.93 (95% CI -1.21, -0.64, p-value < 0.01) to -0.98 (95% CI -1.20, -0.76, p-value < 0.01) among rural dwellers. Similarly wealth related absolute inequalities are also existent.


Although the FPM use has increased over time, but it is important to note that socio-economic gap in use of FPM persists. Such differences have disadvantaged the poor and the illiterate. Family planning programs may target the disadvantaged subgroups for ensuring well-being of women and children in Pakistan.

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