Assessing Couples' Unmet Need for Family Planning in Three West African Countries

Erin Pearson, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Unmet need is typically calculated for currently married women, but considering husbands’ unmet need may provide additional information to family planning programs. This study calculates unmet need based on spouses’ fertility intentions among fecund nonusers of contraception: wife-only, husband-only, and concordant unmet need. Demographic and Health Survey data from Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali are used. Each estimate of unmet need is compared to the wife’s unmet need to assess the proportion due to differing fertility intentions. Across the three countries, approximately half of the wife’s unmet need is concordant and half is wife-only unmet need. Comparing the husband’s unmet need to the wife’s, 21-27% of husbands have an unmet need when their wives do not. Clearly, using only women’s fertility intentions overestimates couples’ unmet need for family planning. Additionally, the proportion of husband-only unmet need suggests that men could be an entry point for contraceptive use for some couples.

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Presented in Poster Session 1