June 20, 2019

Individual, community and service environment factors associated with modern contraceptive use in five Sub-Saharan African countries: A multilevel, multinomial analysis using geographically linked data from PMA2020

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Authors: Linnea A. Zimmerman, Suzanne O. Bell, Qingfeng Li, Antonia Morzenti, Philip Anglewicz, PMA2020 Principal Investigators Group, & Amy O. Tsui

Journal: PLoS ONE, 14(6). June 2019

The importance of the family planning service environment and community-level factors on contraceptive use has long been studied. Few studies, however, have been able to link individual and health facility data from surveys that are nationally representative, concurrently fielded, and geographically linked. Data from Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 address these limitations.

To assess the relative influences of the service delivery environment and community, household, and individual factors on a woman’s likelihood of using a modern contraceptive in five geographically and culturally diverse sub-Saharan African countries. Nationally representative, cross-sectional data from PMA2020 were linked at the household and service delivery level. Country-specific and pooled multilevel multinomial logistic models, comparing non-users, short- and long-acting method users were used. The variables elected for inclusion in our multivariate analyses were guided by the conceptual framework to profile the different levels of influences on individual use of modern contraception. Average marginal effects were calculated to improve interpretability.

We find that the effect of contextual factors varies widely but that being visited by a health worker who spoke about family planning in the past 12 months was consistently and positively associated with individual use of short-acting and long-acting contraception. Characteristics of the nearest health facility did not generally exercise their own independent influences on a woman’s use of contraception, except in the case of Burkina Faso, where the average distance between individuals and the nearest family planning provider was significantly greater than other countries. Inclusion of country fixed effects in the pooled models and the relevance of covariates at different levels in the country-specific models demonstrate that there is significant variation across countries in how community, individual, and service delivery environment factors influence contraceptive use and method choice. Context must be taken into account when designing family planning programs.