"Eager to Talk, but Waiting for the Invitation": Expectation Mix-Up and Lack of Spousal Communication on Fertility and Family Planning in Northern Nigeria

Chimaraoke 0. Izugbara, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

Focus group discussions (N=48) and in-depth individual interviews (N=88) with ever married men and women of miscellaneous reproductive experiences in Kano and Jigawa states in northern Nigeria were held between December 2007 and August 2008 to investigate barriers to couple contraceptive communication. While attitudes toward spousal contraceptive communication were generally positive, there was very little evidence that respondents engaged in it. The foremost barrier to spousal contraceptive discussion was a mix-up in the expectation of couples regarding who should initiate it. Respondents commonly considered it their partners’ rather their own responsibility to initiate contraceptive communication. Strategies are urgently needed to help couples early on in their marriages, to be able to open up to each other on matters of fertility and reproduction.

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Presented in Session 3: Fertility Preferences, Outcomes and Trends in Africa