Birth control in Africa

Percentage of women using modern birth control as of 2010.

Most of the countries with the lowest rates of contraceptive use; highest maternal, infant, and child mortality rates; and highest fertility rates are in Africa.

Approximately 30% of all women use birth control, although over half of all African women would use birth control if it were available. The main problems that prevent access to and use of birth control are unavailability (especially among young people, unmarried people, and the poor), limited choice of birth control methods, side-effects or fear or side-effects, spousal disapproval or other gender-based barriers, religious concerns, and bias from healthcare providers. There is evidence that increased use of family planning methods decreases maternal and infant mortality rates, improves quality of life for mothers, and stimulates economic development.

Public policies and cultural attitudes play a role in birth control prevalence.



Notes: Estimates are based on the data available between 1998 and 2007. These percentages refer to women who are married or in a union. Northern Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia. Western Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo. Eastern Africa: Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Middle Africa: Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe. Southern Africa: Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland

In Africa, 24% of women of reproductive age have an unmet need for modern contraception. Rwanda and Uganda have the highest unmet need for contraception rates. In Uganda, NGOs are trying to make contraceptives more available in rural areas. According to a study done by Nwachukwu and Obasi in Nigeria in 2008, modern birth control methods were used by 30% of respondents. The Demographic Health Survey (DHS) of 20... more

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