Contraceptive knowledge, access, and use are influenced by the socio-economic and cultural environment, as are feelings and attitudes about contraception. According to data from Statista.com, Pakistan has the highest proportion of people who believe that the use of contraception is morally unacceptable. Most of the nations in the top ten list of countries that have an unfavorable view of contraception with regard to morality are from the African continent. Nigeria, Ghana, Tunisia, Uganda, Kenya, and Senegal are listed among the nations with the highest moral opposition to contraception. In Nigeria and Ghana, more than half of each population regarded the use of contraception as morally unacceptable.
In Pakistan, 65% of the population was found to have a moral opposition to the use of contraception. Only 12% of the population found contraception use to be morally acceptable, while 7% of the population stated that it was not a moral issue. Pakistan has one of the fastest-growing populations in Asia. Women in the country often have to bear in mind stereotypes and influence from religion when considering women’s health and family planning. According to a government survey, the country gets nearly 4 million babies each year, most of them are born into poverty. Clerics tell the Muslim majority in the religiously conservative nation that the Quran instructs women to have as many children as possible. The mullahs also regard the use of contraception as haram or a sin. Low literacy rate, especially among women, has also been blamed for the prevalent view on contraception.
About 54% of the Nigerian population considers the use of contraception to be morally unacceptable. Nigeria is currently the most populous country in Africa. The country has a population of over 200 million people, which is expected to double by the year 2050. The country is expected to become the third most populous country in the world after India and China in 2100. The modern contraceptive prevalence rate in the country is very low (9.8%). Only 17% of the population regards contraception as morally acceptable, while 13% of the population believes that it is not a moral issue. Religion is a fundamental component of the socio-cultural fabric of most communities in the country. Religious leaders, therefore, have the power to inhibit or facilitate the adoption of contraception. Sexual education in the country is sparse and often non-existent, which complicates family planning efforts. In most communities, talking about sex before marriage is taboo, while the use of contraception is believed to encourage promiscuity.
In Ghana, only 35% of the population believes that the use of contraception is morally acceptable. The majority of the population (52%) is morally opposed to the use of contraception, while 7% of the population does not believe that it is a moral issue. Although the use of contraception has increased significantly over the years, various groups still have a low contraceptive prevalence rate. Data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 1993 showed that there were variations in the use of contraception among various religious groups in the country. The groups differed with regard to the level of education, place of residence, occupational background, age at marriage, and region of residence. Religion is at the center of the Ghanaian social structure. Christianity is the largest religion in the country, with 43% of the population professing the faith. Other significant religions are Traditionalists (38%), and Islam (12%). Most experts believe that variations in contraception use are related to socio-economic and demographic factors. Greater investment in women’s education and empowerment has been suggested as the best solution to address opposition to contraception.
In Malaysia, 40% of the population is morally opposed to the use of contraception. Only 21% of the population views it as morally acceptable, while 23% of the population does not consider contraception as a moral issue. The contraceptive prevalence rate in the country has been steady on the rise in the last few decades, with an estimated 34% of women practicing modern contraception in 2014. Studies have found a significant association between ethnicity and contraceptive prevalence, with 92% of Malay women being less likely to use modern contraception compared to non-Malay women. Experts have suggested that spousal communication on family planning could encourage family planning. Family planning education should also target both men and women. Ethnic disparities should also be taken into consideration.
Tunisia is a forerunner when it comes to family planning. The country has, however, been experiencing a slowdown in the use of contraception compared to other North African countries. Data from the Pew Research Centre has also indicated that 39% of the population believes that the use of contraception is morally unacceptable. About 21% viewed contraception as acceptable, while 17% of the population did not regard contraception as a moral issue. The government has been working to improve the use of contraception in the country. The country has about 800 Family Planning Centres and mobile clinics in remote areas.
According to the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey conducted in 2011, more than four in every ten births are unplanned. The high levels of unintended pregnancies and unplanned births in the country have been attributed to the non-use of contraceptives. The survey also found that the use of modern contraception increased significantly among married women (from 18% in 2000 to 26% in 2011). In 2014, about 51% of Ugandans viewed the use of contraceptives as morally acceptable, while 38% viewed contraceptives as morally unacceptable. Six percent of the population did not view contraception as a moral issue. The statistics reveal that a significant number of Ugandans are open to the use of contraception. The country, however, has a high unmet need for modern contraception. In 2011, about 43% of sexually active unmarried women and 34% of married women had an unmet need for contraception. The unmet need was higher among the less educated and poor women living in rural areas.
In Kenya, 47% of the population believes that the use of contraception is morally acceptable, while 11% of the population does not think it is a moral issue. About 33% of Kenyans are, however, morally opposed to the use of contraception. The country has made commendable efforts to encourage the use of contraception. Recently, the country reached a Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CPR) of 59% beating its CPR target of 58% by 2020. The target was exceeded despite declining donor funding. The country is now looking to increase the CPR target to 66% by 2030.
Only 29% of the population in the Philippines is morally opposed to contraception. About 60% of the population considers contraception to be morally acceptable, while 9% does not consider contraception to be a moral issue. The use of modern contraception has increased significantly over the years. Despite the successes, several challenges remain. Every one in four pregnancies is unintended, and 610,000 abortions are carried out each year, indicating missed opportunities in family planning.
In 2014, about 28% of the population in Senegal was morally opposed to contraception. Over half of the population, however, believed that it is morally acceptable to use contraceptives. The use of contraception has increased significantly since the government implemented policy changes on the provision of family planning services in 1990. Recently, the government also managed to tackle contraception shortages in public facilities.
Encouraging The Use Of Contraception
Unintended pregnancies can have serious adverse effects on the health of women and children. According to the World Health Organization, there are 210 million pregnancies each year. Estimates show that a third of those pregnancies are unintended. A significant number of those pregnancies end in miscarriages, induced abortions, and stillbirth. Governments, therefore, have to safeguard the health of women and children by encouraging the use of contraception. The government needs to create public awareness on the importance of contraception and encourage religious leaders to support such efforts. More investment is also required for the empowerment of women in society.