Qualitative study of reasons for discontinuation of injectable contraceptives among users and salient reference groups in Kenya

Afr J Reprod Health. 2011 Jun;15(2):67-78.


Discontinuation of contraception is a major problem in Kenya. Even though they want to space or limit their births, over a quarter of contraceptive injectable users discontinue use of the method within 12 months of beginning use. Fourteen focus group discussions were conducted in Nyando District, Kenya among current contraceptive injectable users and their salient reference groups (e.g. husbands, mothers-in-law, community leaders, service providers) to understand why women discontinue using contraceptives (with a focus on injectables). Thematic analysis was performed using NVivo 8 software. Discontinuation of contraceptives in Nyando District occurs for logistical, social and medical reasons. Common reasons for discontinuation include side effects, husbands' opposition, provider and/or clinic restrictions, misconceptions about injectables, stock outs, and lack of cash to pay for family planning services. This research expands the literature by examining social influences on discontinuation by incorporating the perspectives of salient reference groups. The results suggest points of intervention for increasing continuation in this community and similar resource-poor settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contraception / adverse effects
  • Contraception / psychology
  • Contraception Behavior / psychology*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female* / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female* / adverse effects
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female* / economics
  • Developing Countries
  • Family / psychology
  • Family Planning Services* / economics
  • Family Planning Services* / methods
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Injections* / methods
  • Injections* / psychology
  • Kenya
  • Male
  • Patient Dropouts* / classification
  • Patient Dropouts* / psychology
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Change


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female