Barriers to contraceptive use in two areas of Kenya: rural (Bungoma district) and urban (Baba Dogo, Nairobi).
This paper examines the barriers to contraceptive use of couples from an urban low socioeconomic community (Bungoma district) and a rural population (Baba Dogo, Nairobi) in Kenya. The study also explores the level of agreement between husbands and wives on important issues relating to childbearing and contraceptive behavior. The investigation is designed as 2 complementary components: 1) a quantitative information on fertility, contraceptive behavior and attitude were collected among 1325 respondents using a cross-sectional descriptive survey; 2) 8 focus group discussions were deliberated concerning the barriers to contraceptive use. The interviews revealed important barriers to contraceptive use: 1) limited information concerning available methods, despite relatively high knowledge of family planning; 2) lack of communication between husband and wives on fertility issues, despite high stated agreement on the desire for additional children; and 3) fears of failure to return to fecundity after stopping contraceptive use. On the other hand, the focus group discussions reveal a greater diversity of reasons for the nonuse of family planning among eligible couples. Among the barriers cited are deep-rooted traditional practices; limited knowledge and consequent misconceptions about specific contraceptive methods; and couples lack of effective communications about reproductive and contraceptive issues.