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Conceptions of Contraceptive Use in Rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Lessons for Programming

Ndinda, C and Ndhlovu, T and Khalema, NE (2017) Conceptions of Contraceptive Use in Rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: Lessons for Programming. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14 (4). ISSN 1660-4601

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Abstract

Community family planning programmes in South Africa arose from the controversial apartheid history of controlling the African population while encouraging the growth of European migrant population. Post-apartheid population policies shifted away from population control to aligning policies to the global agenda that placed emphasis on the link between population and development. The focus on population and development polices in post-apartheid South Africa is on social equality, justice and peace rather than controlling sections of the population. Given the shift, this paper interrogates the conceptions of contraceptive use among rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal. Our primary objective is to understand the dynamics surrounding access to and use of family planning services in peri-urban and rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal. Using focus group data, the findings of the study suggest that different social categories interact with the family planning programmes differently. How teenagers and married women perceive the value of family planning differs. Gender differences regarding the use of condoms are also evident. The paper attempts to grapple with the non-use of condoms despite the knowledge that these prevent pregnancy and provide protection from sexually-transmitted diseases. The contribution of this paper lies in its identification of socio-cultural factors and the political economy underlying the different attitudes towards contraceptive use in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

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