This study investigated the influence of family planning in Isiala Mbano of Imo State. The study sought answers to four research questions and two hypotheses. The population of the study consisted of all families in tall the 12 communities that made up Isiala Mbano local government area of Imo state. 240 families were sampled using the simple random sampling technique. Questionnaire was the major instrument for data collection. Data collected were analysed using mean scores, while t-test statistics was employed in testing the hypotheses. Based on the analysis, the following major findings were made.
i. There is a high level of awareness on family planning method within their various communities.
ii. Most parents accepted family planning method within their various communities.
iii. Most parents do not embrace the use of condom and implantation methods. However, parents accept injectable based on doctor’s advice, that pills prevent pregnancy, also that traditional family planning method is cheaper and safer than the new modern method, and lastly that use of contraceptives have no side effect on reproductive system.
iv. Finally, the result show that family planning helps to encourage child
spacing among couples during their reproductive years, some religion upholds family planning because it serves as a means of disciplining some promiscuous individuals and that family planning helps couples to enjoy their sexual life after giving birth to the number of children they want. Based on the findings, recommendations and suggestions for further research were made.
Background of the Study
Population increase has become a thing of great concern for economic planners, demographers and even government agents. As world population moves towards 5.9 billions, the per capital production of money basic commodities is falling, for instance the recent global food shortage is an evidence. (Population Report, 2006). The effort to raise incomes and living standard is falling in many countries like Nigeria, particularly where population is growing most rapidly and where family planning is not fully practiced.
In the seventies, our country enjoyed the oil boom and having a large family, did not bring any economic burden to parents because things were relatively cheaper and easy to come by. There was little or no psychological stress about caring for children. Many parents stuck to the traditional belief of having many children because culturally, having many children prove how wealthy a man is. More also many men prefer to have large families that cold help them in farming.
The current realization that large population can hold back socio-economic development and health for all programmes has led to the quest for information on family planning and other related reproductive health problems in Nigeria. Planned Parenthood programmes have become necessary in Nigeria because of the prevailing socio-economy and psychological factors that affect both parents and children.
However, in recent years economic situations changed and caring for children brings both psychological and economic strains on both parents and children. Therefore, there is need for family planning either traditional or the newly introduced modern methods to curtail the trend. The traditional method include prolonged breast feeding, post partum, the use of ring, waist band, wooden doll, the use of black soap and salt to be dissolved and taken immediately after sex. The above mentioned methods are commonly practiced on the Yoruba’s. on the other hand, the new modern method emphasized the use of contraceptive such as pill, IUCD (Intrauteri9ne Contraceptive Device), condom, implant, and vasectomy. For clarification, the new modern method is broken down into three categories, which includes Temporary modern methods examples are pills, injectable, condom. Permanent new modern method examples are vasectomy, tubectomy and Natural methods which involves withdrawal method and rhythm (Ayeni, 2002).
Family planning is a way of maintaining reasonable interval in childbearing practice. That is letting a woman rest after giving the first birth before another birth. Family planning also embraces a way of preventing unwanted pregnancy, and a means of sexual gratification. Nwangoro (1999) defined that family planning is an organized effort to assist people to have the number of children they want and to space them as they choose. In addition, family planning is available to helP individuals and couples to choose if and when they will have a child or to choose the number of children that they will have. The choices depend on a complicated mixture of social, cultural and psychological influences; and lately for the first time in history, men and women have had reliable methods to enable them to make that choice freely and relatively easily.
This principle of choice is important as it includes not only the choice of using family planning, but the choice of the birth control method most suited to the particular circumstance of the couple. But neither the man nor the woman can make an informed choice until each has a basic knowledge of the different methods, their efficiency in protection against pregnancy and their advantages and disadvantages. The choice maybe that the man uses contraceptive measures; or that the woman chooses the contraceptive. Both should know of the available method so that the decision is made carefully. The choice is helped if each partner has an idea of how efficient the method chosen is in an unwanted pregnancy. On the other hands, family planning involved the use of contraceptive control in limiting or spacing out pregnancies either for socio-economic health, or population control purposes.
The benefits of family planning cannot be over emphasized because they go a long way in helping individuals, parents, children, communities and government in the area of health, education of children, and social economic and political development of the society. For these reasons, government, non-governmental organizations and individuals have found it necessary to introduce family planning
Programmes at federal, state, local and community levels and Isiala Mbano in Imo State in Okigwe senatorial zone is not left out. The local government is made up of semi urban and rural areas namely; Amaraku, Amauzari, Anara, Eziama, Ibeme, Obollo, Ogbor, Umuduru, Umunkwo, Ugiri, Umuneke and Umuozu
The population of the people is about ten thousand five hundred (2006 census figure from National Population Commission Office, Isiala Mbano Local Government Council Imo State). The local government has a wide range able land. For this reason; the major occupation of the people is farming. Due to the nature of their occupation, most men prefer to have a large family that will assist them in their farming and this had led to high population in the area. On the other hand, most of the women prefer to go into marriage rather than going to school. This is to a large extent affects the level of literacy among the people. It is only those in the semi-urban areas of the local government who have little interest in education and they prefer to send their children to school instead of engaging hem in early marriage. In view of the above discussion, the location levels of literacy to a large extent have impact on the level of awareness to family planning programme among the people.
Family planning was introduced to this country at a time when such need was of paramount importance. It was to bring both psychological and economic relief to families. Interestingly, government and other non-governmental agencies have put in much effort to bring the knowledge about family planning to the people through advertisement on Television, Radio and other media. For instance, in 1987, the Imo State Commissioner for Health stated that there should be increased public enlightenment campaign to educate parents on the need for them to make use of public health facilities particularly those concerning birth control. This connotes request for contraceptive device as prevention of unwanted pregnancy through provision of contraceptive as outlets that will be accessible to families. On this note, if family planning education is adopted, the problem of population explosion will be minimized. This should not be seen as divorcing sexual act from procreation. Family planning should be geared towards changing people’s attitude to family size. However, people’s attitude are to a large extent influenced by social and cultural condition of the environment as well as their views on the importance of children and their own need as status aspiration.
The applications of family planning method have a significant advantage to maintain in the area of health social economic and political endeavours, therefore should be a continuous process. Maine (1991), opined that family planning should be encouraged for its advantages on the entire society because the advantages derived from family planning are numerous.
However, opposition to family planning was rational to the physicians. This was because they saw family planning as writing with one hand and erasing with he other, in this case they support family planning as a means of minimizing the problems posed by illegal abortion and abandonment of babies.
People who suggest family planning see it as he best thing parents can do for themselves and for their children. Akingba (1994) believes that it is
Unreasonable to bring more children into the world than a couple can afford to maintain well. A couple should produce only the number of children that their circumstances in life permit them to feed, cloths, educate and generally look after properly in sickness and in health.
Another writer, Feuerstein (1991), stressed the necessity of family planning. According to her the major causes of increasing death o women at child birth seems to be “lack of self-discipline, poor spacing of birth and general disregard for simple health principles”. The result of pregnancies in quick succession is a worn out, easily tired, and poorly nourished young woman looking many years older than her real age. These states make one an easy prey to illness.
The effort of government and other agencies on this issue has to be complimented by counselors through thorough education of the people, especially at the local level where much will be achieved in securing better family units through well-planned child rearing habits.