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Does the antenatal care visit represent a missed opportunity for increasing contraceptive use in Pakistan? An analysis of household survey data from Sindh province

05 Mar 2016

During the last two decades, the use of maternal health services has increased dramatically in Pakistan, with nearly 80% of Pakistani women making an antenatal care (ANC) visit during their pregnancy. Yet, this increase in use of modern health services has not translated into significant increases in the adoption of contraception. Even though Pakistan has had a national family planning programme and policies since the 1950s, contraceptive use has increased slowly to reach only 35% in 2012–13. No evidence is currently available to demonstrate whether the utilization of maternal health services is associated with contraceptive adoption in Pakistan. This study uses data from a large-scale survey conducted in Sindh province in 2013 to examine whether ANC utilization is a significant predictor of subsequent contraceptive use among women. In an analysis which controls for a range of variables known to be important for family planning adoption, the findings show that ANC is the strongest predictor of subsequent family planning use among women in Sindh. The antenatal visit represents an enormous opportunity to promote the adoption of family planning in Pakistan. The family planning programme should ensure that high-quality family planning counselling is provided to women during their ANC visits. This approach has the potential for contributing to substantial increases in contraceptive use in Pakistan.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Health Policy and Planning