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Married women’s autonomy and post-delivery modern contraceptive use in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Authors: Yuji Sano, Roger Antabe, Kilian Nasung Atuoye, Joseph A. Braimah, Sylvester Z. Galaa, and Isaac Luginaah
Source: BMC Women's Health, 18:49: DOI:
Topic(s): Contraception
Reproductive health
Women's autonomy
Country: Africa
  Congo Democratic Republic
Published: MAR 2018
Abstract: Background Although use of modern contraception is considered beneficial in lowering maternal and child mortality rates, the prevalence of contraceptive use remains low in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This study examined modern contraceptive use and its linkage to women’s autonomy. Methods Data were drawn from the 2013–2014 Democratic Republic of Congo Demographic and Health Survey. We selected unsterilized and non-pregnant married women who have given birth in the last three years (N?=?6680). Logistic regression models were fitted to explore the relationship between women’s autonomy and modern contraceptive use. Results The study found that only 7.1% of married women who had delivered within three years used modern contraceptive methods. After controlling for socioeconomic and demographic factors, the association between women’s autonomy and modern contraceptive use remained positively significant (OR?=?1.16; 95% CI?=?1.05, 1.29). Conclusion The findings from this study indicate that it is not enough to provide women with educational and employment opportunities to increase the uptake of modern contraception, but also to enhance women’s assertiveness to make their own decisions regardless of their partners’ preferences within household settings. It is critical for government and other stakeholders to roll out programs aimed at reducing gender inequality and improving women’s autonomy in decision-making about reproductive health. Keywords Modern contraceptive – Women’s autonomy – Maternal and child health – Demographic and health survey – The Democratic Republic of Congo