Fear of Side Effects as a Barrier to Modern Contraceptive Use Among Ghanaian Women

Claire E Bailey, University of Southampton
Zoe Matthews, University of Southampton

The overall contraceptive prevalence rate remains relatively low in Ghana at 20.7% for all women aged 15-49 in 2003. According to the 2003 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS), fear of side effects was the most cited method-related reason for non-use among all women and has increased in importance as a reason for non-use between 1998 and 2003, from 18% to 26%. This study uses data from focus group discussions to explore in greater depth the concept of fear of side effects and to determine on what information and from what sources is this fear constructed. The methodology allows study participants to define the problem in their own terms and within their own particular social contexts. The results show that fear of side effects is really a catch all term for a complex range of phenomena, both physiological and social, associated with the use of modern contraceptive methods.

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Presented in Poster Session 5