Current knowledge and pattern of use of family planning methods among a severely ill female Nigerian psychiatric outpatients: implication for existing service

Ann Afr Med. 2013 Jan-Mar;12(1):16-23. doi: 10.4103/1596-3519.108245.


Background: Despite the acknowledged benefits accruable to the mentally ill from the use of contraceptives, research and dedicated reproductive health services for this group of people in Nigeria are still underdeveloped or non-existent in many cases. This study aims at identifying the current status of knowledge and pattern of use of modern contraceptives in a clinic population.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study of 100 women with severe mental illness attending psychiatric outpatient clinic in Ilorin, Nigeria, using a semi-structured questionnaire.

Results: A majority (88%) of the women had good knowledge of family planning, many (61%) were interested in its use but at least half of them had not used any method and current use was just 27%. Attitude to family planning was generally positive as indicated by desired family size (71%) of less than 4 children with 6 out of 10 desiring future intention to use. The male condom was the most known and ever used method (68%, 37%), respectively. Most (81%) of these women desired that family planning information be provided at the psychiatric clinic but fewer of them discussed this with their partners.

Conclusion: Considering discrepancies between knowledge, interest and use, the potential health benefits of fertility regulation, and the adverse effects of unregulated family, and contraceptive use is still relatively low. There is need for improvement which might only be possible if psychiatric focused programs are initiated. The large number of women who desired clinic-based family planning education suggests that the introduction of such program is feasible.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blacks
  • Contraception / methods*
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data
  • Contraception Behavior / ethnology
  • Contraception Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family Planning Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice / ethnology*
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mentally Ill Persons
  • Nigeria
  • Outpatients / statistics & numerical data
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female