What Do Filipino Men Know About Family Planning? It Depends on Their Socio-Economic Background

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PRESS RELEASE 

Manila, Philippines, September 2011 – There is a correlation between educational attainment and general awareness of family planning (FP) methods, with knowledge of these methods increasing the more years of formal education a Filipino male has.

While this fact is unsurprising (given that family size is also rises as educational attainment and income or economic status declines), it forms the background for the interventions recommended by the paper Fertility Preferences and Family Planning Use Among Filipino Males* by Dr. Clarissa C. David and Jenna Mae Atun.

“From an informational standpoint the most urgent needs appear to be increasing knowledge among the poorest and the poorer for ligations, vasectomies, periodic abstinence, and injections. These are either the simplest, most permanent, or most available forms of FP for which awareness remains low,” the paper stated.

As for other knowledge of common FP methods, the research reports some surprising statistics:

  • The average age a Filipino male has sex for the first time is 20. Sex is unplanned, so the female partner is usually not on hormonal contraception and both do not intend to conceive, making condoms the most convenient and readily available FP method for young couples.
  • However, only 6% of Filipino men used a condom the last time they had sex, and only 16% used one when they had sex for the first time.
  • Non-use of condoms is not due to inaccessibility – 70% of men know where to obtain one.
  • The method men know least is Natural Family Planning (NFP). Only 7% of the male population knows anything about NFP, with the rest dismally unaware of the times in the female cycle when a woman is most likely to become pregnant.
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With awareness of the use of condoms and birth control pills is higher or more widespread, FP awareness campaigns must target the least educated males, who have little knowledge and are likely to have many children. The paper recommends campaigns with messages “crafted for those with limited reading comprehension skills, keeping in mind as well that the less educated are more prone to believing in myths.”

Fertility Preferences and Family Planning Use Among Filipino Males is part of a research project called The Effects of Male Involvement in Family Planning Decisions, which seeks to explore the influences of men on family planning-related decisions, including FP method choice and fertility decisions. The study is funded by the Philippine Center for Population and Development (PCPD) through the UP College of Mass Communication Foundation, Inc. (UP-CMCFI).

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Contact: Ms. Fely Rixhon, Executive Director, PCPD

Tel: (63 2) 843 4061 Fax: (63 2) 894 4696

Access The Effects of Male Involvement in Family Planning Decisions research reports at www.pcpd.ph

*Methodology: Data used in the analysis are drawn from the 2003 Philippine National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), a national representative survey of Filipino women 15-49 years old and men 15-54 years old.

A total of 4,615 households were selected for the male subsample which is about a third of the total households sampled for the female sample. Of this number, 91% were successfully interviewed. Out of 4,992 men eligible for individual interviews, 96% were successfully interviewed.

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