Getting men involved in family planning: Experiences from an innovative program
The national family planning (FP) program of Bangladesh has made progress in achieving a 49 percent contraceptive prevalence rate and bringing the total fertility rate down to 3.3, but there is still much to be done. If the national goal of reaching replacement-level fertility is to be achieved by 2005, contraceptive prevalence has to increase 70 percent in the next five years. The Male Involvement Project was designed to determine the effect of several interventions on accelerated proactive male involvement in FP and programmatic factors influencing levels of acceptance of male contraceptive methods in Bangladesh. As noted in this report, the results of several studies indicate that increased use of contraceptive methods and continuation of female methods are higher when husbands are involved or a couple-focused approach is adopted for decision-making. Thus, there is a need to launch an intensive information, education, and communication campaign to sensitize and inform various segments of the male population about the importance of male involvement in FP. The present operations research project was developed and is being implemented to test the assumptions stated.