168219 Gender and Fertility Related Decisions in Ethiopian Families

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 12:30 PM

Dawit Belew, MD MPH , Plan Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Martha Wood, MPH , Plan Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Luis Tam, MD DrPH , Plan USA, Arlington, VA
BACKGROUND. Ethiopia is the second most populated country in Africa with 77 million inhabitants and a Total Fertility Rate of 5.4 children per woman. THE RESEARCH. Plan Ethiopia, an international humanitarian organization with health and development programs in the country, researched how men and women make decisions, behave and interact in accessing and utilizing family planning. This 2006 research included rural and urban populations in the states of Amhara, SNNP and Addis Ababa and applied sample population surveys and focus group discussions. THE RESULTS. (1) The decision to have more children was made by couples; followed by women only (Addis Ababa, Amhara) and men alone (SNNP). (2) The majority of respondents reported birth spacing as a couple's decision, followed by men in SNNP; in Addis Ababa and Amhara, respondents supported his/her own gender as the alternative decision maker. (3) Men were frequently aware of their female partners' use of FP. (4) Partner's opinion was most important in making FP-related decisions, while family's opinion ranked second. Amhara and SNNP/Addis Ababa respondents ranked religious leaders' and friends' opinion as the third most important, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: While the majority of the participants believed couples should decide on fertility, a high proportion of respondents (especially in SNNPR) still believe that men should make these decisions. Partners, family members and friends/religious leaders are also influential in making family planning decisions. CONCLUSIONS. Based on these findings, Plan Ethiopia re-designed its community mobilization, education and distribution of family planning information and services.

Learning Objectives:
To assess the power structure within Ethiopian families and communities which shape family planning decisions.

Keywords: Family Planning, Gender

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Jointly with Ms. Wood, I developed the work described in this abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.