Contraceptive knowledge, beliefs and attitudes in rural Malawi: misinformation, misbeliefs and misperceptions

Malawi Med J. 2010 Jun;22(2):38-41. doi: 10.4314/mmj.v22i2.58790.


Introduction: The objective of the study was to find out factors that affect the intentions of men and women to use family planning methods.

Methods: The study was conducted in Mangochi district, the southern region of Malawi in 2006. About 60 Focus group discussions were conducted to identify the attitudes and beliefs of 30 male and 30 female participants regarding family planning methods. The data was then transcribed and analyzed manually identifying central themes and relationships across the cases and narratives.

Results: Most of the respondents knew the different types of family planning methods and reported that health facilities had adequate stock of family planning supplies. However, it was found that most of the women and men were not using any modern family planning methods. Reasons included: family planning methods were perceived side effects, such as prolonged menstruation, men's concerns about impotence and genital sores, weight gain or loss, and subsequent infertility. Traditional family planning methods were mostly used for infertility problems.

Conclusion: Despite knowing about the different types of family planning methods, and awareness of their ready availability in health facilities, use of these methods is low because considerable misinformation still prevails regarding contraceptive methods' side effects.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Contraception / methods
  • Contraception / psychology
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data*
  • Contraception Behavior / ethnology*
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology
  • Decision Making
  • Family Planning Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Malawi
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care
  • Pilot Projects
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult