Background: Both availability and quality of family planning services are believed to have contributed to increasing contraceptive use and declining fertility rates in developing countries. Yet, there is limited empirical evidence to show the relationship between the quality of family planning services and the population based prevalence of contraceptive methods. This study examined the relationship between quality of family planning services and use of intrauterine devices (IUD) in Egypt.
Methods: The analysis used data from the 2003 Egypt Interim Demographic and Health Survey (EIDHS) that included 8,445 married women aged 15-49, and the 2002 Egypt Service Provision Assessment (ESPA) survey that included 602 facilities offering family planning services. The EIDHS collected latitude and longitude coordinates of all sampled clusters, and the ESPA collected these coordinates for all sampled facilities. Using Geographic Information System (GIS) methods, individual women were linked to a facility located within 10 km of their community. A facility-level index was constructed to reflect the quality of family planning services. Four dimensions of quality of care were examined: counseling, examination room, supply of contraceptive methods, and management. Effects of quality of family planning services on the use of IUD and other contraceptive methods were estimated using multinomial logistic regression. Results are presented as relative risk ratios (RRR) with significance levels (p-values).
Results: IUD use among women who obtained their method from public sources was significantly positively associated with quality of family planning services (RRR = 1.36, p < 0.01), independent of distance to the facility, facility type, age, number of living children, education level, household wealth status, and residence. Quality of services related to counseling and examination room had strong positive effects on use of IUD (RRR = 1.61 for counseling and RRR = 1.46 for examination room). Obtaining IUD from a private source or using other contraceptive methods was not associated with quality of services.
Conclusion: This study is one among the few that used geographic information to link data from a population-based survey with an independently sampled health facility survey. The findings demonstrate that service quality is an important determinant of use of clinical contraceptive methods in Egypt. Improving quality of family planning services may help further increase use of clinical contraceptive methods and reduce fertility.