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Measuring Access to Family Planning: Conceptual Frameworks and DHS Data
Authors: Yoonjoung Choi, Madeleine Short Fabic, and Jacob Adetunji
Source: Studies in Family Planning, 47(2): 111-202; DOI: 10.1111/j.1728-4465.2016.00059.x
Topic(s): Contraception
Family planning
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: JUN 2016
Abstract: Expanding access to family planning (FP) is a driving aim of global and national FP efforts. The definition and measurement of access, however, remain nebulous, largely due to complexity. This article aims to bring clarity to the measurement of FP access. First, we synthesize key access elements for measurement by reviewing three well-known frameworks. We then assess the extent to which the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS)—a widely used data source for FP programs and research—has information to measure these elements. We finally examine barriers to access by element, using the latest DHS data from four countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We discuss opportunities and limitations in the measurement of access, the importance of careful interpretation of data from population-based surveys, and recommendations for collecting and using data to better measure access.