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East Afr Med J. 1994 Feb;71(2):106-9.

Attitudes of males to contraception in a Kenyan rural population.

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Department of Reproductive Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Moi University, Eldoret.


The results of a contraceptive attitudes survey on 355 men carried out between January and March 1987 in Machakos District of Kenya are presented. 93.2% indicated that they approved of Family Planning. Although 63.9% of the respondents felt that family size decision making should be a couple's responsibility and 78.6% of respondents preferred a husband and wife approach to family planning counselling, 56.9% said that the women should be the one to actually use the contraceptive. 88.7% approved of female sterilization while 64.5% disapproved of vasectomy. There is need to re-evaluate the current integrated maternal child health-family planning services to actively and effectively accommodate men.


Results from the 1977-78 Kenya fertility survey revealed that, although 88% were aware of at least one family planning method, use was only 17% among currently married women of reproductive age. In 1987, a survey was conducted in the northern part of Machakos District of Kenya among 400 men in order to obtain information on male attitudes toward contraception. Of the 355 completed questionnaires, there were 94.6% currently married men with a mean age of 38.1. 31.8% were in polygamous unions and 68.2% were monogamous. Catholic Christians comprised 51.8% and 42 were nonCatholic Christians. 95.5% had some formal education. Family planning was approved of by 93.2% of the men and 86.1% thought their wives approved. 88.4% thought the wife should take the responsibility for actually using contraception. 33.6% thought the male should be the sole decision maker about family size; 1.4% thought the woman should be and 65.3% thought a joint decision was appropriate. 67.6% of the men had discussed family planning with others, of which 79.2% had with friends, 12.1% with family planning field educators, and 6.3% with relatives. 78.6% thought family planning should be presented to couples together. 41.6% thought the man alone or jointly had a role to play in family planning. 45.9% agreed that family planning should be used after the family size was completed, and 45.6% suggested after the first child. When family size had been achieved, 88.7% thought the wife should be sterilized. 64.5% disagreed with vasectomy use ever. 53.5% considered that the right choice of contraceptive would eliminate problems. 32.1% expressed the greatest fear of contraceptive being women falling ill from contraceptive use. Effect on future fertility was the greatest fear men had about vasectomies (59.2%). 23.5% thought male sterilization led to impotence.

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