VICTOR EFFIONG BEN
Department of Sociology & Anthropology,
University of Uyo, Uyo
This study examines the practice of family planning in Akwa Ibom State in an attempt to provide the basis for actions and policies by the government and non-governmental organizations on maternal and family health in the rural areas. It focuses on the rural areas of Akwa Ibom State where some characteristics of the society that connect with maternal and family health include the risks in pregnancy for women, and poor feeding, nutrition, morbidity, and death of children; all of which could be checked by limiting family size through family planning. The study was based on three hypotheses: kin support does not significantly influence the practice of family planning in the rural areas of Akwa Ibom State, cultural belief has no significant influence on the practice of family planning in the rural areas of Akwa Ibom State, and the belief in evil forces has no significant influence on the practice of family planning in the rural areas of Akwa Ibom State. The study was a survey research, designed both descriptively and analytically to evaluate the constraint to massive and effective use of contraceptives which is the hallmark of family planning to limit fertility levels and reduce family size in the state. Data were obtained from 1110 respondents selected randomly from six rural communities using the questionnaire and Focus Group Discussion (FGD). The data were analyzed using logistic regression at univariate and multivariate levels. However, relying on the assumptions of the New Home Economic Model and Subjective Expected Utility Theories otherwise called SEU-THEORIES, the study found that the level of awareness of family planning programme and the various methods of contraceptives was high but the rate of use was still low among the people. Contrary to the earlier speculation, the study discovered that the three factors: kin support, cultural belief, powers of evil forces did not significantly affect the practice and attitude to family planning in the rural areas of Akwa Ibom State. The study thus, argues that the observed disparity in the level of use of contraceptives (practice of family planning) between people living in the rural and urban areas of Akwa Ibom State was partly accounted for by the people socio-economic conditions.