Kochi, July 7 : A study done among the Tribal women in Wayanad in Kerala, which has now been published in a leading international peer Review journal-BMJ, Reveals that the use of contraceptives was only 26.4 per cent compared to the state average of 53 per cent.
The Knowledge about contraceptive use was poor among 53 per cent of the women.
The study was done by a team from the Amrita Hospital, near here and the sample size was 2,500 women in the reproductive age group of 15-49 years.
The women who were represented in the study are mainly from Paniya, Kurichiyar, Adiya, Kattunaicken Tribal communities.
The Knowledge of emergency contraceptive use was also found to be very poor and this was closely related to poor Knowledge of contraceptives in general.
Those who desired more than two children had poor Knowledge of contraceptives.
S.Aswathy, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Amrita Hospital who conducted the study said initially, only 1,027 women reported having heard of contraceptives, and on further probing this increased to 1,256.
“Only more than a third — 36.7 per cent had above average Knowledge of contraceptives.While less than a fifth, 43,3 per cent of them reported having heard of oral contraceptive pills (OCP).Only 68 answered further Knowledge questions on OCP of which about a third 33.8 per cent of the women had above average Knowledge,” said Aswathy.
She added that the key findings are that contraceptive use is lower than the general population at 26 per cent.
“However, the family size is not commensurately high which may be due to the use of traditional methods of contraception.Of those who have used contraception 63.8 per cent had used permanent methods.Among those who had not used a contraceptive, worry about side effects and partner not wanting to use a method were the main reasons cited.The use of contraceptives was two times higher among the Paniya group compared to Kattunaicken, a particularly vulnerable Tribal group, and other groups.
Those who were more vulnerable such as staying in a kutcha house were less likely to use contraceptives,” said Aswathy.
This study specifically highlights the need for improving education and increasing awareness on contraceptives among the various indigenous groups in Kerala.
Aswathy also points out that at the implementation level more changes are necessary.
“A more culturally sensitive and respectful approach is necessary.Universal access to family planning services, aligned with sustainable development goals, data from the study suggests that we are far from achieving this goal when it comes to Tribal communities,” said Aswathy.
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