Men involvement in family planning would increase its recognition, acceptance and practice by people especially within the rural communities. This is because in rural communities in Nigeria including Enugu, men are still the gate keepers in our families who control power and major decision making. Some of them decide whether their wives will practice family planning or not and the methods to be adopted. This implies the men seem to have the finally say on the number of children the family should have, the spacing, maternal health and general level of reproductive health in the family. In Nigeria male involvement in family planning from previous studies is low, pregnancy and delivery problems are treated as women affair. Though men do not carry pregnancy, they are the initiators of the process and therefore should be involved in family planning for better success. The purpose of the study was to examine Male involvement in family planning in some selected rural communities in Enugu East Local Government Area in Enugu State, Nigeria. The target population of the study were 3320 men. Sample size was 360 men. The instrument for data collection was a researcher developed questionnaire which was also used as an interview guide for illiterate subjects. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics such as frequencies, percentages, mean and standard deviation. Statistical analyses was done using the statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17. Chi-square inferential statistics was used for testing the hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance. Results showed there was a significant association between male involvement in family planning and socio demographic variables (age, educational level, occupation and religion). Other findings revealed that less than half of the respondents (46%) got involved in family planning practice in the rural communities studied. There were low mean response values of 2.21, 2.11 and 2.25 to the nature of men’s involvement in family planning. The main factors that affected their involvement were inadequate knowledge (40.5%), lack of many contraceptives options (34.8%). Most of the men used withdrawal method (35.5%) or condom (23.8%) and a combination of withdrawal and condom (27.5%) while (13.1%) use vasectomy. The study concluded that men’s involvement in family planning was low in the communities studied. Adequate information, education and communication is needed in the communities to improve their knowledge. Some cultural and religious beliefs that hinder men’s involvement in family planning should be discouraged. More male contraceptive options should be promoted as well as made available.
Background to the Study
Family planning is a way of thinking and living that is adopted voluntarily on the basis of knowledge, attitude and responsible decision by individuals and couples in order to promote health and welfare of the family, groups and thus contribute effectively to the social development of the country (WHO, 2011).It involves practices that will enable couples or individuals to determine the number of children they would like to have, when to have them, that is both the timing and spacing and most importantly, those they have the capability or the means with to cater for. (Fumilayo and Kolawole, 2000).
Men are pivotal decision makers at all household level within the rural communities. The duty of men in the society seems supreme; especially in rural communities they are in charge of the family, they run the world governments, they control religious organizations and they co-ordinate all social systems. (Okeke, 2005). Furthermore, they play vital role in pregnancy and delivery and transmission of sexually transmitted infections. Onuoha (2000) stated that African men are mainly responsible for deciding whether their wives will practice family planning and the methods to be adopted. He further stated that the true position is that in traditional African societies, including Nigeria, men are conferred with authority to determine who gets what, how and when in the family. This authority implies that they have the final say on the number of children the family should have, the spacing, maternal health and general level of reproductive health in the family. Thus any family planning programme that excludes men is may to have minimal impact on the targeted population.
Male involvement in family planning would increase its recognition, acceptance and practice by people especially within the rural communities. This is because in rural communities in Nigeria, including Enugu, men are still the gate keepers in the families who control power and decision making. Their involvement will help to achieve huge success in the numerous campaigns aimed at reducing, population explosion in Africa, arrest the increasing surge of sexually transmitted infections and reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality (Onuoha, 2000).
In European countries, statistics show that an average of 65% of men go for family planning yearly. In America about 70% of males go for treatment of sexually related infections like HIV/AIDS yearly due to awareness campaigns about the importance of involving men in family planning (Davidson, 1999).In African countries, for example in South Africa, about 35% of the people that attend family planning and immunization clinics are males. In Togo, it was noted that male involvement in family planning and voluntary health screening and counseling compared with the females is in the ratio of 1:3 (Robert and Brown, 2000).