Determinants of unmet need for family planning in squatter settlements in Karachi, Pakistan
Pasha,Omrana; Fikree,Fariyal F.; Vermund,Sten H.
Asia-Pacific Population Journal 16(2): 93-108
Publication date: 2001
Despite the high level of unmet need for family planning in Pakistan, little is known about its determinants. This study examines factors associated with unmet need in squatter settlements in Karachi. It identified 387 women who claimed to want no more children and compared the characteristics of two groups, those not using contraception (i.e. those with an unmet need) and those using modern contraceptives. Husbands and mothers-in-law were also interviewed. Factors associated with unmet need include women's perception that their mother-in-law's fertility goals differ from their own, having less than two sons or two daughters, lack of economic independence and lack of spousal communication on sexual matters. Interviews with mothers-in-law confirmed that unmet need was strongly related to their attitudes to fertility. Programmes to reduce unmet need should therefore target mothers-in-law as important decision-makers in couples adopting family planning, address female economic independence and encourage spousal communication. Necessary changes at the societal level include reduction of preference for sons and of ideal family size.