Addressing Current Contraceptive Use for Nigerian Women

In 2011, 12% of women (out of the 65% sexually active individuals) were said to use modern contraceptives (Society for Family Health). This slow uptake of contraceptives stems majorly from several myths overtime resulting from cultural norms, fear of side effects, low knowledge of contraceptive use and poor access, naming a few. Although a slight increase of contraceptive use (0.9% to 9.8%) was reported from 1982 to 2015 (NDHS, 2018), an increased use would promote biological and societal benefits for Nigerian women.

Contrary to popular belief, research indicates modern contraceptives such as implants, injections, pills and condoms are over 90% effective in preventing pregnancy and poses a low threat to fertility. It is however crucial to consult with a health expert in choosing a contraceptive method, as certain conditions could make a woman ineligible for a particular method. Unbeknown to a majority, use of contraceptive pills within 5 days after intercourse can prevent over 95% of pregnancies but does not terminate an already existing pregnancy (WHO).

As the majority of Nigerian women still maintain reservations concerning the use of contraceptives, what are the expected measures to improve its use? What specific myths about contraceptives use have you encountered and how do we dispel these misconceptions? In debunking common myths behind contraceptives use, what possible advantages could this have on the population?

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One measure that would really improve uptake of contraception is education, many young, sexually active, unmarried couples have little knowledge of contraceptive methods beyond barriers, withdrawal and emergency contraceptives. Simply enlightening young people about the options they have would go a long way to improving uptake.

Also, much of the available information is directed at married women, Nigeria is a very patriarchal society and many women cannot make decisions about contraceptives on their own, the men also tend to have no clue and as such make uninformed choices. Enlightenment Programs that make this information easily accessible to men as well as women would also have an impact.

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And i have heard some really weird things about contraception from funny to downright deadly, Some people consider drinking alcohol soon after intercourse has contraceptive effects, some take antibiotics like Ampicilin, some people even insert herbal concoctions to prevent pregnancy. These options do not work and can put the woman at risk of infections and injury.

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I agree with you, education is key! Social media is a strong tool that could be used to drive awareness about contraceptive use, as these youngsters spend a lot of time on their phones and other devices.

Antibiotics resistance is continuously on the rise due to these mythical practices. These practices need to be replaced by use of modern contraceptives which are safer and poses minimal to no damages to the body system.

I think the education for use of contraceptives should focus on both sexes because i feel it is more directed to the women and the proper use of it should be emphasised especially to the younger generation of 15 and above.

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Yes, sex education is not a regular part of school curriculum for the younger set. The government, school authorities, organisations and individuals could organize programs to this effect.

I have heard people believe ingesting krest can abort pregnancy but this is quite a misconception. Educating the public through social channels can be effective in changing this narrative.

I think to increase the use of contraceptives, adverts should be done on the use of contraceptives also addressing the issues of the myth surrounding the use of contraceptives

This is shocking. Educating the public will definitely help check the population boom.

Yes! More programmes like MTV Shuga should be targeted at educating the public on contraceptive use.