266175 Lessons from Iran: Reducing Personal Opposition to Contraceptive Use in Egyptian Women

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 3:15 PM - 3:30 PM

Ali Soroush , School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Dana Alsaadi , School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Irene Anne Jillson, PhD , School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Background: Since the 1980s, Egypt has experienced a reduction in total fertility rate from 5.6 (1976) to 2.8 (2008) and an increase in contraceptive prevalence rate from 18.8% (1976) to 60.3% (2008). Yet 12% of women intending and 6% of those not intending to utilize contraception reported personal opposition to use because of perceived religious prohibition. Methods: We critically reviewed relevant literature and analyzed available data regarding the role of Egyptian religious leaders with respect to contraception use. Findings: Religious leaders are viewed favorably by 81% of Egyptians, especially those in rural low-income populations, where contraceptive prevalence is lowest (48.4% in rural Upper Egypt versus 62.4% in urban Upper Egypt). However, only 1.2% of married women have heard a family planning (FP) message from a religious leader in the past six months. Furthermore, both Christian and Muslim local leaders reported a poor understanding of FP issues. In a survey of community religious leaders who attended a FP workshop in Upper Egypt, less than 20% demonstrated correct prior knowledge of FP issues. Recommendations: Local religious leaders and their wives should receive health education that clarifies the religious permissibility of FP and explains its health and social impact, including facilitating birth spacing and reducing STI transmission. They should be encouraged to discuss FP through individual and couples counseling, community meetings, and sermons. Engagement of religious leaders in FP programs will reduce stigma associated with FP and improve contraceptive prevalence.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify one obstacle to improved contraceptive coverage in Egypt. Discuss the role of religious leaders in increasing contraceptive prevalence.

Keywords: Family Planning, Community Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an undergraduate majoring in health sciences. I have researched global health issues and have traveled extensively in Iran and interacted with Iranian public health officials.
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.