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Misperceptions, misinformation and myths about modern contraceptive use in Ghana
  1. Michelle J Hindin1,
  2. Laura J McGough2,
  3. Richard M Adanu3
  1. 1Associate Professor, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
  2. 2Independent Consultant, Accra, Ghana
  3. 3Associate Professor, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana
  1. Correspondence to Dr Michelle J Hindin, Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N Wolfe Street, E4546, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA; mhindin{at}jhsph.edu

Abstract

Objective Ghana, like the rest of West Africa, has very low contraceptive prevalence and is one of a few nations that reports declines in contraceptive use over time based on two of the most recent national surveys. Fear of side effects is a leading cause of non-use of contraception, based on national surveys. The objective of this study was to gain a more holistic understanding of why Ghanaian women are not using contraception.

Methods We used focus groups with vignettes to elicit normative beliefs about contraception. We recruited 91 women from three different clinics within Legon Hospital in Accra, Ghana: the antenatal clinic, the student clinic and the child welfare clinic. Focus groups were homogeneous with regard to age group and union status.

Results We found that women were most concerned with the menstrual irregularities caused by hormonal methods. In addition, women believed strongly that the hospital was the best place to get contraception as blood tests were needed to match women with the appropriate method. Knowledge of how methods worked and of basic reproductive biology was low.

Conclusions Poor knowledge of how to use modern methods combined with myths and misinformation should be the targets of programmes to increase modern contraceptive prevalence in Ghana.

  • education and training
  • family planning service provision
  • qualitative research
  • service delivery

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