Saturday, June 15, 2024

Unmet Family Planning Needs in Nepal: A Comprehensive Study

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Family planning (FP) remains a critical component in enhancing maternal and newborn health, fostering gender equality, and alleviating poverty. Despite its importance, significant unmet FP needs continue to plague regions such as South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, leading to unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and maternal fatalities. This article delves into the determinants of unmet FP needs, utilizing data from a nationally representative survey conducted in Nepal.

Methodology and Data Analysis

The study analyzed data from 11,180 currently married women, derived from the Nepal Health Demographic Survey 2022. By employing weighted analysis via R statistical software, researchers accounted for the complex survey design and non-response rates. Through univariate and multivariable binary and multinomial logistic regression models, the association between unmet FP needs and various independent variables was assessed. These variables included place of residence, province, ecological belt, ethnicity, religion, age, education level of both participants and their husbands, occupation, wealth quintile, parity, childbearing desires, and media exposure.

Key Findings and Demographic Disparities

The study revealed an overall unmet FP need of 20.8%, with 13.4% attributed to limiting and 7.4% to spacing. Women aged 20-34 and 35-49 experienced lower odds of unmet FP needs compared to those under 20. Additionally, Madhesi ethnic women, those from wealthier quintiles, and rural residents showed reduced unmet FP needs.

Conversely, women with basic and secondary education levels exhibited higher odds of unmet FP needs compared to those without education. The odds were also higher among women from Madhesh, Gandaki, Lumbini, and Sudurpashchim provinces compared to those from Koshi province. Similarly, women whose husbands had basic or secondary education levels also showed increased unmet FP needs.

Actionable Insights

Key Inferences:

– Target FP interventions should prioritize younger women under 20 years.
– Tailored strategies should address the specific needs of the Madhesi ethnic group and residents of rural areas.
– Enhanced educational programs for both women and their husbands are crucial.
– Special attention is required for women in Madhesh, Gandaki, Lumbini, and Sudurpashchim provinces.
– Socio-economic status is a significant factor; thus, affordable FP services for lower wealth quintiles are essential.

In conclusion, Nepal exhibits significant unmet FP needs across various socio-demographic segments. Addressing these challenges necessitates targeted interventions focusing on age groups, ethnicities, education levels, and socio-economic statuses to ensure equitable access to FP services.

Original Article: PLoS One. 2024 May 31;19(5):e0303634. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0303634. eCollection 2024.

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