SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL DETERMINANTS OF USE OF FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES IN URUAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE
1.1 Background of 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 ofreproductive health in the family. Thus any family planning programme that excludes men may 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).