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Women’s autonomy and men’s concerns regarding contraception: exploring men’s experiences with Progesterone Vaginal Ring in three sub-Saharan African countries

Francis Obare, Population Council
Fatou Mbow, Population Council
Saumya Ramarao, Population Council
Avishek Hazra, Population Council

The introduction of Progesterone Vaginal Ring (PVR) in sub-Saharan Africa calls for an in-depth understanding of the product’s role in promoting women’s autonomy regarding their reproductive decision-making and behavior to inform the positioning of the method within family planning programs in the region. In this paper, we explore men’s experiences with PVR based on responses from women as well as husbands of a subset of women users in Kenya, Nigeria and Senegal, and identify how such experiences are likely to influence women’s rights and autonomy regarding their reproductive decisions and contraceptive behavior. We use a mixed-methods approach drawing on data from quantitative interviews with 174 women who participated in a PVR acceptability study, and qualitative in-depth interviews with 10 husbands of a subset of the women in the three countries. The findings show that user-control (women could insert and remove the method themselves), ease of use, and non-interference with sex and flow of breast milk were attributes of the method that men appreciated, which was also consistent with women’s reports. In addition, health care providers played important roles in supporting sustainable use of the method through giving information, counseling and assisting women who experienced ring slippage to manage those challenges.

Keywords: Family planning and contraception, Gender, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Mixed methods research

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  Presented in Session 19. Men as Part of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Equation