The information exchanged during a contraceptive visit is important because providers need to understand clients' reproductive intentions and clients need to receive adequate information about methods and possible method-related side effects and problems. Little is known about how information exchange has changed over time and how it might vary across countries or subgroups within a country.
Demographic and Health Survey data from 25 developing countries were used to calculate the Method Information Index (MII), a Family Planning 2020 indicator that reflects some aspects of contraceptive information exchanged between providers and clients. For each country, the MII was calculated from each of two surveys about five years apart to examine change in the indicator over time. In addition, the MII was examined for all countries combined and by region.
The average MII for all 25 countries increased from 34% at the earlier survey time to 39% at the later survey time; the index values of individual countries ranged from 19% to 64% at survey time 1 and from 13% to 65% at survey time 2. The MII increased over time in 15 countries and declined in 10. In analyses by contraceptive method type, the MII tended to be highest among implant users and lowest among women relying on sterilization. The index was generally higher among women living in urban areas than among those in rural areas, and tended to rise with increases in women's education and household wealth.
On the basis of the MII, developing countries have room to improve information exchange between providers and clients. Such improvements would require concerted efforts by programs and donors.