Islam, Polygyny and Modern Contraceptive Use in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa

Jane Bertrand, Tulane University
Margaret Farrell-Ross, Tulane University

In response to concern over persistent high fertility in Franchophone West and Central Africa, researchers must identify the factors determining low modern contraceptive prevalence (below 13%) throughout the region. This analysis explores both conventional factors (education, urban/rural residence, number of living children, age) and two factors hypothesized to be important in the region: % Muslim and % in a polygynous union. DHS data on married women of reproductive age (MWRA) from 13 countries reflect low levels of education, rural residence, and desire for more children. The percent Muslim varied from 1-98%; the percent polygynous from 21-52% in the 13 countries. Logistic regression demonstrated the usual effects of education, place of residence, and age on MCPR, but religion and polygynous union did not emerge as determinants of MCPR. Programs must counter the barriers of low education, rural residence and pronatalist norms by increasing access to contraception and improving quality of services.

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Presented in Session 206: Contraceptive Use in Africa and the U.S.