The use of family planning contraceptives helps improve women’s lives and prevents maternal deaths. Globally, maternal mortality has been significantly reduced by 44% between 1990 and 2015. However, the gains have not been evenly spread; the majority of deaths still occur in low and middle-income countries. Solomon Islands, a low-income nation in the Pacific, faces continued challenge of low contraceptive use and unmet needs for family planning. There is a gap between knowledge about contraceptives and their actual use. This study explores the barriers and enablers to family planning, including contraceptive use at Atoifi Hospital, Solomon Islands and presents strategies that may increase contraceptive use.
Semi-structured face-to-face interviews with family planning nurses, contraceptive users and non-users were facilitated to explore the barriers and enablers for women and men for family planning, including contraceptive use. A total of nine interviews were conducted. Results showed the association of family planning service with contraceptive use, as represented by four themes: availability and accessibility of contraceptives; knowledge and beliefs; the socio-cultural expectation of women; and fear.
Pacific nurses, midwives, doctors in clinical practice and sexual and reproductive health program officers and managers, especially in the Solomon Islands.
Context is a key factor to incorporate successful strategies to fill unmet family planning needs and increase usage. This small study revealed significant barriers to contraceptive use, were linked to where and how family planning service is delivered. The service would benefit from greater attention to the cultural context, gender, and privacy issues. Services in Pacific Island countries may also benefit from the lessons learned in Solomon Islands.