Contraceptive use intentions and unmet need for family planning among reproductive-aged women in the Upper East Region of Ghana

Bawah, Ayaga A.; Asuming, Patrick; Achana, Sebastian F.; Kanmiki, Edmund W.; Awoonor-Williams, John K.; Phillips, James F.

Motivations for use of contraceptives vary across populations. While some women use contraceptives for birth spacing, others adopt contraception for stopping childbearing. As part of efforts to guide the policy framework to promote contraceptive utilization among women in Ghana, this paper examines the intentions for contraceptive use among reproductive-aged women in one of the most impoverished regions of Ghana.

This paper utilizes data collected in 2011 from seven districts in the Upper East Region of northern Ghana to examine whether women who reported the use of contraceptives did so for the purposes of stopping or spacing childbirth. A total of 5511 women were interviewed on various health and reproductive health related issues, including fertility and family planning behavior. Women were asked if they would like to have any more children (for those who already had children or those who were pregnant at the time of the survey).

The prevalence of contraceptive use was low at 13%, while unmet need is highly pervasive and demand for family planning is predominantly for spacing future childbearing rather than for the purpose of stopping. Overall, about 31.7%of women not using contraceptives reported a need for spacing while 17.6% expressed a need for limiting. Thus, the latent demand for family planning is dominated by preferences for space rather than limiting childbearing.

Results show that there is latent demand for family planning and therefore if family planning programs are appropriately implemented they can yield the desired impact.

Geographic Areas


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Also Published In

Reproductive Health

More About This Work

Academic Units
Population and Family Health
Published Here
December 20, 2022


Contraception, Unmet need, birth spacing, Family planning, Reproductive health, Fertility