1.1 Background to the study
Family planning is widely acknowledged as an important intervention towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) three (3) as it has proven to reduce maternal and child mortality. Family planning can prevent unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortions. Some family planning methods such as condom usage can protect individuals from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS. Family planning has also been found to promote gender equality as well as promote educational and economic empowerment for women. Despite the enormous benefits of family planning services, the uptake of the service still remains low in Sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria (Eliason, et al., 2013).
Furthermore, Eliason said that although most people are aware of the benefits of family planning services, they complained that it was difficult to access family planning services as such services were provided by health facilities that were far from their homes. In addition, religious inclination has been noted to be a major constrain to the uptake of family planning services in Africa. Also, some individuals perceived that family planning services were meant for only married couples whilst others fear that they will become sexually promiscuous if they go for family planning services once they cannot become pregnant (Cates, et al., 2010). It has been observed that a large number of women have an unmet need for family planning as the acceptor rate for family planning services remains low. It is on this note thatscholars like Haffner,etal., (2010) argue that the lives of mothers and children will be improved and maternal mortality reduced if family planning acceptor rate is improved.
However, according to World Health Organization, (2016) family planning is the practice that allows individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. It is achieved through use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of involuntary infertility. A woman’s ability to space and limit her pregnancies has a direct impact on her health and well-being as well as on the outcome of each pregnancy (WHO, 2016). Therefore, family planning services are defined as educational, comprehensive medical or social activities which enable individuals, including minors, to determine freely the number and spacing of their children and to select the means by which this may be achieved (Burke, 2010).
Family planning is a wide-reachingoccurrence. The promotion of development and improvement of quality of life require co-ordination of action in all major socio-economic fields including that of population, which happens to be the inexhaustible source of creativity and a determining factor of progress. At the international level a number of strategies and programmes whose explicit aim is to affect variables in fields other than population have already been formulated. In many developing countries, attempts to improve the socio-economic conditions of the population are seriously hindered by the rate of population growth. This is true of both urban and rural areas where population growth is simply above the ordinary (WHO, 2015).