FAMILY PLANNING: PERCEPTION, ACCEPTABILITY AND BEHAVIOUR: A CASE STUDY OF EFFIUM LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE
Family planning can be defined as the process of planning the number of children a couple intends to have between intervals by using birth control (Advanced Learners).
Again, according to Eluwa (1985:34), family planning is described as a method or the ability to have children, if and when you want them. It is a way through which the births of children are controlled. This would enable parents to develop the spirit of “born as you can train”.
At the course of given definition, Nweze was not left out. Nweze (1984) says that birth control means those methods used to limit reproduction in man including the use of contraceptives. Iffih (1995) added by defining family planning as child by choice and not by chance.
At this juncture, it must be pointed out clearly that family planning does not mean stopping procreation, but the much a couple can train which may not cause strain between a man and his wife. It is also important in order to control family size which leads to improved physical and mental health of the family. Family planning also includes giving help to those who have problem of conceiving. Many families involved in family planning are have the opportunity to produce children who are mentally, physically and intellectually healthy. Large families tend to have more health problems than smaller families.
Studies show that parents who limit the number of their children in order to afford them greater opportunities have higher occupation and educational aspirations than families with many children. Experience has shown that children from smaller families do show higher achievement, motivation and better academic programme than those from large families (Berelson, 1996:11).
There are many reasons which culminate couples to limit their family or to space the birth of their children. One of such reasons is that, by limiting the family size and spacing births, the quality of the life of the members definitely improve. For instance, if a peasant farmer owns only small piece of land and has ten children, the trouble of feeding all of them adequately will arise consequently. Many will be faced with option of moving to the city in search of jobs, and the alternative of not getting the job is not left out. One the contrary, if the same man had only two or three children, the opportunity of sending them to school will be amble and certainly, these children would have a good life (Iffih, 1995).
Family planning helps couples to get expert knowledge on the various methods by which they can give birth to manageable number of children in the family.
Equally, it helps the couple to prevent or control conception in order to allow the space of giving children to suit their circumstance (Agomoh, 1987).
Again, another important reason for family planning is the protection of the woman’s health. Experts had shown that during pregnancy, there are some metabolic and physiological that takes place in a woman’s entire system, as such needs time to rest and get the system normalized before embarking on a subsequent pregnancy (Akingba, 1986:20).
Therefore, there is the need for family planning in order to regulate and increase the interval between births. Studies revealed that three or more years between pregnancy is best for the survival of infants. Still on the importance of family planning, Akingho (1986) had warned:
“There is progressively infant workability as birth intervals decreased. Close space pregnancies contribute to anaemia among women and in turn increase the material and foetal risk in subsequent pregnancies. Continuous away the strength of the mother and consequently expose her to anaemia and other bacterial and viral infections. She may suffer from Protein Energy Malnutrition (P.E.M) and death of the mother”. (Akingbo, 1986).
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Family planning has been misunderstood by many people in Nigeria, for instance, some religions see family planning as against their faith. Also others may see it to be a situation where there is no issue a lot or childlessness. But family planning goes beyond these notions. Therefore, it is important to note that there are different methods of family planning adopted by different people.
In the application of these methods, some people are encountered. Some people on the other hand believe that there is no need for them to stop procreation. Others refuse in totality to accept the method on the grounds that they do not know how to go about them. As if these reasons are not enough, many people do not accept the modern way/method of family planning. Rather, they resolve to traditional methods which complicate issues. Worse still, other are affected by religious believes.
Based on the issues mentioned above, this research work seeks to clarify the issue of family planning to the people. It also tries to educate couples on the benefit and objectives of family planning and to eliminate ignorance on the issue of family planning by the social, the various churches and other social groups.
In a nutshell, this project aimed at educating couples in Nigeria in general and Effium community in particular the pressing need for family planning.
1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION
In conducting a research on family planning in Effium community, certain questions are expected to be asked;
- What is family planning as perceived by the people?
- Are the people aware of the family planning methods?
- What are the family planning methods known to the people?
- What are the levels of use of the family planning methods among the people?
- How do people accept the modern methods of family planning?
- What are the factors affecting the acceptance of family planning?
- Does religion affect the implementation of family planning?
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Various methods of family planning have been developed. The applications and acceptability of these various methods have been affected by such factors as levels of literacy, religion, social status, custom or tradition conservation, etc. Hence, neither the concepts of family planning nor the application of the methods gained a universal acceptance.
The objectives of the study are as follows:
- To find out whether the people are aware of family planning methods
- To assess the attitudes of Effium people towards family planning
- To assess the acceptance of the different methods of family planning
- To find out the effect of religion on the acceptance
- To proffer some recommendations which could be beneficial to individuals and policy makers towards national development.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
There has been much concern, about population growth in the developing countries of which Nigeria is among. The problem of this high population growth is that it has hampered the socio-economic development of these countries. One of the major solution has been the introduction of family planning. Without family planning, it mean that the lives of mothers will be in danger and again it means catering for great number of people.
On the national level, it means retarding progress for the limited resources and caring for the numerous people. It will also help the government in formulating and implementing a population policy.
It is therefore expected that the findings of this research will help to ascertain the degree to which couples use each of the different methods. It will also add to the already existing mass of literature on family planning and will equally help those who will want to carry out a study of a similar nature.
The study will be of great importance to policy makers and the government in directing effective family planning programmes which could subsequently encourage national growth.
Finally, the finding of this research will create awareness among our people on the consequences of having large and unplanned families in the face of the poor economic and deteriorating social development.
Societies where modern family planning exist is socio-economically balanced than societies where no modern family planning programme exist.
Couples who adopt modern methods of family planning are more balanced than couples who do not adopt modern methods of family planning.
Literate couples are more disposed to adopting family planning programmes than that of the illiterate couples.
- OPERATIONALIZATION OF TERMS
Several terms used repeatedly in this research need some explanation. These are not based on their dictionary or conventional meanings but on the meanings that are applicable to the research. Here are some of these terms and their operational definition:
FAMILY: Anthropologists Raph L. Beals and Hozjer Harry (1959:34) defined family as “a social grouping of members who are united by bounds of kinship”.
PLANNING: Planning is the process of preparing a set of design for action in the future directed at achieving goals by the best means.
FAMILY PLANNING: This is therefore man’s behavioural action aimed at preventing unwanted pregnancy or birth. It means child spacing and timing and also it mean birth by choice and not by chance. It equally involves such issues as planning for the quality and quantity of children and their sexes.
1.8 THE STUDY AREA
The study area covers thirteen selected villages that make up Effium Local Government Area. The study will further analyse the impact of family planning programme in Nigeria in general, and Effium Local Government Area as a case study. The population for the study covers all adult; male and female in Effium Local Government Area.