Contraceptive use amongst women of rural KwaZulu-Natal: a case study of Ntabamhlophe.
Mkhize, Ayanda Fozzia.
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Sexual and reproductive health practices among women has been widely researched in South Africa. However, little is known about the contraceptive practices of older women in rural areas of South Africa as they are often excluded in research. The benefits of using contraceptives include the prevention of unintended pregnancies, limiting and spacing births as well the prevention of HIV and STIs. In developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan African countries, contraceptive prevalence rates are low. The latest results from the 2016 South Africa Demographic and Health Survey indicate that contraceptive prevalence among South African women has gradually increased but remain critically low when compared to other countries. In addition, the statistics indicate that contraceptive use is lower in rural areas in comparison to urban areas. The aim of this study is to shed insights into contraceptive use in a rural area in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This study relied on collecting qualitative data using in-depth, face-to-face interviews with women. Fifteen black women aged between 25 and 35 years from the rural area of Ntabamhlophe in KwaZulu-Natal were interviewed. The collected data was used to identify factors that promote or inhibit contraceptive use. The study found that awareness of contraception exists, however this does not translate into correct and consistent use of contraceptives. The collected data found that the majority of the women were not using any method of contraception. The study reveals that attitudes to contraception play a critical role in decision-making associated with contraceptive use among rural women. The desire to limit or space births and evade child mortality influences contraceptive use. Socio-economic factors such as educational level and employment have an influence on the use of contraceptives as these are seen to promote the use of contraceptives. Factors that inhibit the use of contraceptives include cultural beliefs and practices, myths and negative misconceptions, fear of contraceptive side effects, attitudes of health professionals, as well as the unavailability of a range of contraceptive methods. This study recommends the development of community intervention programmes that aim at educating selected groups on contraceptives. This study further stresses the need to increase male involvement in sexual and reproductive health issues as a means to increase contraceptive use. Additionally, more efforts should be made to increase the availability of contraceptives in rural areas.