Published: 2019-08-23

Male involvement in family planning; an often neglected determinant of contraceptive prevalence in Sub-Saharan Africa

Mamah Johnbosco, Okafor Love, Egbuji Chuma, Mgbafulu Christian, Ibo Chukwunenye, Ekwunife Ifeoma


For more than two decades, there have been efforts to include men in family planning programmes. Male involvement was first echoed on a global scale at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) plan of action, Cairo 1994. This article is aimed at highlighting the importance of male involvement in increasing contraceptive prevalence in Sub-Saharan Africa. A literature search using Google, Google scholar, PubMed, Hinary, Medical textbooks and related journals. Relevant articles were extracted and used for this review. Majority of the literature assessed showed alienation of men in family planning and other reproductive health services despite the declaration made at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, 1994. Findings also showed significant level of awareness of modern family planning methods amongst men but very low support for its use by themselves and/or their spouses or partners. Some of the reasons for such apathy include fears of side effects, non-availability, high cost and ignorance. The importance of involving men in family planning services cannot be over stressed. There are overwhelming evidence that with male support, there would be greater uptake and sustained use of family planning. This will lead to improved maternal and child health indices especially in our setting where the burden of the morbidity and mortality of maternal and child health is greatest.


Family planning, Male involvement, Nigeria

Full Text:



Garg S, Singh R. Need for integration of gender equity in family planning services. Indian J Med Res. 2014;140:147-51.

Clark S, Flavier J, Jimenez P, Lee R, Solomon H. The role of men in family planning in the Philippines: an assessment. Asia-Pacific Socsci Rev J. 2012;7(1):75-95.

Lamprecht V. Engaging men in family planning: Influence of faith, religious and faith-based organizations. Christian Connections for International Health Document. 2013:1-4.

World Health Organization fact sheet. Programming for male involvement in reproductive health. Report of the meeting of WHO regional advisers in reproductive health. 2002: 1-179.

World Health Organization (Reproductive health library. Family planning. Available at: Accessed on 22 July 2016.

Adelakan A, Omoregie P, Edoni E. Male involvement in family planning: challenges and the way forward. Int J Pop Res. 2014;2014:416-25.

Obiesan KA, Adeyemo AA, Fakokunde BO. Awareness and use of family planning methods among married women in Ibadan. East Afr Med J. 1998;75(3):135-8.

Ijadunola MY, Abiona TC, Ijadunola KT, Afolabi OA, Esimai OA, Olaolorun FM. Male involvement in family planning decision making in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. Afr J Repr Healt. 2010;14(4):45-53.

World Health Organization Reproductive health library). Family and contraception. Available at: /factsheets/fs351/en. Accessed on 22 July 2016.

Centre for Disease Control. Ten great public health achievements in the 20th century. Available at: Accessed on 10 August 2016.

John SC. Ten great public health achievements-United states, 1900-1999. Morb Mortal Wkly Reports. 1999;48(12):241-3.

Wu J, Meldrum S, Dozier A. Contraceptive non-use among US women at risk for unplanned pregnancy. J Contraception. 2008;78(4):284-9.

United Nations. Levels and trends of contraceptive use as assessed in 1988. New York: Department of international economic and social affairs. United Nations. 1989 (ST/ESA/SER.A/110).

Jonathan K, Family planning worldwide 2008 data sheet. Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau; 2008: 134-139.

Robinson WC, Ross JA. The global family planning revolution: Three decades of population policies and programs, Washington DC: World Bank; 2009.

Ahmed S, Li Q, Tsui A. Maternal deaths averted by contraceptive use: results from a Global analysis of 172 countries. Population, family and reproductive health department, John Hopkins School of Public Health document, 2010: 1-29.

Bawah AA, Akweongo P, Simmons R, Philips JS. Women’s fears and men’s anxieties; The Impact of family planning on Gender relations in Northern Ghana. Stud Fam Plann. 1999;4:54-66.

Ezeanolue EE, Iwelunmor J, Asaolu I, Obiefune MC, Ezeanolue C, Suji OA et al. Impact of male partners awareness and support for contraceptives on female intent to use contraceptives in Southeast Nigeria. BMC Pub Health. 2015;15:879-85.

Odimegwu CO. Family planning attitudes and use in Nigeria: a factor analysis. Int Fam Plann Perspectives.1999: 86-91.

Bawah AA. Spousal communication and family planning behaviour in Navirongo: A longitudinal assessment. Stud Fam Plann. 2002;32(2):185-94.

Tilahun T, Coene G, Temmerman M, Degomme O. Spousal discordance on fertility preference and its effect on contraceptive practice among married couples in Jimma Zone, Ethiopia. J Repr Health. 2014;11(1):27-33.

Onwujekwe OE, Enemou JC, Ogbonna C, Uzochukwu BS, Lawson A. Are Modern contraceptives acceptable to people and where do they source them from across Nigeria? BMC Int Healt Hum Rights. 2013;13(1):7-13.

Vouking MZ, Evina DC, Tadenfok CN. Male involvement in family planning decision making in sub-Saharan Africa, what the evidence suggests. Pan Med J. 2014;19:349-54.

Elizabeth R, Nancy Y. Making motherhood safer: Overcoming obstacles on the pathway to care. Population reference Bureau document. 2002: 23-34.

Oyediran KA, Ishola GP, Feyisetan BJ. Factors affecting every married men’s contraceptive knowledge and use in Nigeria. J Biosoc Sci. 2002;34(4):497-510.

Ha TT, Jayasuriya R, Owen N. Increasing male involvement in family planning decision making: Trial of a social-cognitive intervention in rural Vietnam. J Healt Edu Res. 2004;20(5):548-56.

Terefe A, Larson C P. Modern contraception use in Ethiopia: does involving husbands make a difference? Am J Pub Health. 1993;83:1567-76.

Wang CC, Hua LS, Yun WH, Rong ZN. Reducing pregnancy and induced abortion rates in China: family planning with husband participation. Am J Pub Health. 1998;88:646-8.

Manlove J, Cook E, Karpilo Q, Thomas A, Fish H. Male involvement in family planning: The estimated influence of improvements in condom use and efficacy on non-marital births among teens and young adults. Child trends. 2014.

Jayalakshmi MS, Ambwani K, Prabhakar PK, Swain P. A study of male involvement in family planning. J Healt Pop Perspectives Issues. 2002;25(3):113-23.

Khan ME, Mukherjee N. Involving men in safe motherhood. J Fam Welfare. 1997;43(2):18-30.

Sharma A. Male involvement in reproductive health: women’s perspective. J Fam Welfare. 2003;49(1):23-9.

Helzner JF. Men’s involvement in family planning. J Repr Healt Matters. 1996;7:146-54.

International Institute for population sciences. National Family health survey (MCH and family planning), India 1998 and 1999.

Kabagenyi A, Jennings L, Reid A, Nalwadda G, Ntozi J, Atuyambe L. Barriers to male involvement in family planning uptake and reproductive health services: a qualitative study of men and women’s perception in two rural districts in Uganda. J Repro Health. 2014;11:21-30.

Adewuyi A, Ogunjuyigbe P. The role of men in family planning: an examination of men’s knowledge and attitude to contraceptive use among the Yoruba’s. J Afr Pop Studies. 2008: 18.

Kamal MM, Islam MS, Alam MS, Hassan MB. Determinants of male involvement in family planning and reproductive health in Bangladesh. Am J Hum Ecol. 2013;2(2):83-93.

Balalah D, Nalk DD, Ghule M, Tapase P. Determinants of spacing and contraceptive use among couples in Mumbai: A male perspective. J Biosoc Sci. 2005;39:698-704.

Walston N. Challenges and opportunities for male involvement in reproductive health in Cambodia. Policy project and research produced by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), 2005.

Mboane R, Bhatta M. Influence of a husband’s healthcare decision making role on a woman’s intention to use contraceptive among Mozambican woman. J Repro Health. 2015;12:36-44.