Online Program

Socio-cultural challenges of family planning initiatives in conflict and humanitarian refugee settings: A population case study

Monday, November 2, 2015

Ramin Asgary, MD, MPH, Dept of Medicine, Weill Cornell College of Medicine and New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY
Joan Price, MD MPH, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Provision of family planning services for refugee populations in humanitarian settings has been increasing. Availability of services, however, does not translate into acceptability and access, and understanding socio-cultural aspects is critical to ensure utilization of services. There often exist misconceptions and low levels of knowledge about family planning. Populations may see limiting pregnancies as counterproductive in light of high child mortality or suspicious in the context of ethnic cleansing.  Larger family size has the perceived advantage of additional assistance with family duties in a subsistence structure, security for the community or tribe, and a social service investment for parents as they age. There may be religious and moral objections to contraception. Any service planning must take into account community perceptions and address socio-cultural contextual subtleties. Ongoing community education via local initiatives from within the refugee community, region-wide structural strategies, and efforts to reconcile family planning services with faith are crucial.  Through the len of a case study of IDPs in Sudan, coupled with a review of literature, we aim to provide perspectives on the provision of family planning services among refugee populations to expose common themes in barriers to acceptance and uptake of provided services and suggest strategies to overcome these barriers.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate community perspectives, experience and acceptance, and barriers to contraceptive methods among refugees in post-conflict setting in Sudan Discuss issues of ideal family size and child mortality, opinions on women’s right to contraceptive choice among refugee communities in Sudan Discuss strategies to improve uptake of family planning services

Keyword(s): Contraception, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have extensive experience working with refugees in international health setting and providing healthcare services to refugees and immigrant nationally and internationally.
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.

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