Access to Family Planning Services in Rural Tanzania
The study concluded that family planning services are generally available. However, the range of options available to users at the primary healthcare level tends to be limited, which limits the ability of users to switch methods. The proper management of clients, which includes the protection of clients’ privacy and ensuring that necessary tests and counselling are done before any method is prescribed, was also found to be weak. On the demand side, inadequate information on modern contraceptives (benefits, efficacy, side effects, and how to deal with them), misunderstandings on possible side effects, distrust among spouses, and problems of male inclusion stand out as important constraints to adoption. Delivery of comprehensive and appropriately packaged information to communities through properly designed social marketing campaigns, as well as deliberate efforts to ensure inclusive integrated services at primary healthcare level, can considerably help boost adoption. Improving the technical competence, in terms of infrastructure to allow for privacy in service delivery and skills to manage clients appropriately, is essential. The potential of community health workers in delivering services like injectable contraceptives should also be tapped.