THE ATTITUDE OF MEN TOWARDS FAMILY PLANNING. A CASE STUDY OF SOKOTO NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT, SOKOTO STATE

THE ATTITUDE OF MEN TOWARDS FAMILY PLANNING. A CASE STUDY OF SOKOTO NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT, SOKOTO STATE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

The evolution of human societies in the past several decades has on one hand brought about considerable improvement in the level of living and the welfare of the population and has on the other hand created a considerable number of hardship and the problem which government are painfully attempting to alleviate (UN, 2010). Excessive population growth, in particular, has often been considered a major obstacle to rapid progress in economic development and hence to the betterment of people’s living.

By January, 1982 the world population had passed 4.5 billion and hence marks optimistic projection by United Nation which place the figure at (9.1) billion by the end of 2050 over four-fifths of the population will inhibit the developing world and (90) percent of the increase will

occur in the third world nations. This view in turn raised great global concern especially in countries where population was deemed too high. Population policies to reduce fertility rates were formulated and family planning programmes have been regarded as the best means of achieving these goals.

Various attempts to encourage men in many societies to participate actively in family planning programmes have continued to receive low attention especially in developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, (United Nation, 1977). That in many cultural situations, the adoption of family planning is likely to be considered as a process of innovative behaviour. This means that the various cultural and religious beliefs as well as traditions are generally involved in shaping individual reproductive behaviour and family size norms. Isiugo, (2003) observed that, unlike women, Nigerian men desire more children and less likely to approve family limitation. This could be a function of the socio-cultural

norms that associate masculinity and social status with family size in most northern part of Nigeria. In this part of the country, the large family size idea is likely to encourage polygamy and early marriage which will make the family programmes difficult to gain approval among men in these societies.

In Nigerian societies, men constitute a larger percentage of policy makers, administrators, politicians etc. who take far-reaching decisions on family planning as a result of religious and socio-cultural beliefs prevailing in the country. They may have been influenced by their religious beliefs not to accept family planning. In most predominant Islamic societies, limitation as to the numbers of the children a particular couple should have is not spelt out, thereby encouraging the large family size as people tend to give birth to the children as many as they can. This particular phenomenon will probably influence the

attitude of men to desire large family size even though they cannot care for them.

Also, other factors that are likely to be associated with high population growth is socio-cultural values. In most South-eastern part of Nigeria, a family with the large number of children usually gets prestige for this achievement. The likely consequences of this action would encourage many men to reject family planning methods. The sex preference whereby male child is seen as more valuable than females is a common practice in virtually all Yoruba lands (UNFPA, 2010). In these societies, male child is considered the heir of the family through whom continuity of life in the family can be fulfilled. And this may influence the attitude of men to always want to have at least a male child. In this wise, it may be difficult for men to accept family planning methods and hence, the Nigerian society like many other African societies still finds itself in the doldrums of population explosion.

1.2    STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM

In a personal interview with some members of the research area, it is crystal clear that the acceptance of family planning among men in Sokoto North Local Government area is low, which is greatly influenced by their existing religious and cultural values. The predominant religion in Sokoto North Local Government is Islam. However, this religion does not specifically state the number of children a couple can desire during their life time. This further ignore the belief that the provider who is capable of providing for their needs so as to cater for their children. This belief makes men from this area to desire family size. This particular attitude which is attributed to religion often leads to high fertility rates without a corresponding rate in the economic development in this area. The socio-cultural factor in this area also placed men more important than women. The men are seen as the heads of households and take most decisions about the number of children desired by their wives.


Because of the low status of women in Sokoto North, there is likelihood that contraceptive use will be determined by their husbands.

It may be pointed out further that both the religious and cultural norms existing in this local government may have a strong influence on the attitude of a man to adopt family planning. The cultural values such as polygamy and early marriage as well as male-child syndromes constitute a great set-back to the adoption of family planning in the research area. The high value placed on male-child than females among men is likely to make the family planning programme difficult to be practiced. The attitudes of men who tend to aim for the birth and survival of at least a son will probably leads to population growth especially where this becomes delayed.

1.3       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

Below are some of the questions the research work seeks to provide answers to:

1.   What is the nature of men’s attitudes towards family planning in

Sokoto North Local Government Area?

2.   What is the level of knowledge and information of family planning among men in Sokoto North Local Government Area?

3.   What are the socio-cultural factors that are influencing their attitudes towards family planning?

4.   What are the role of women in taking decision as to the number of the children they give birth to in this area?

1.4       AIM AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The aim of this research is to examine vividly the attitude of men towards family planning in Sokoto North Local Government Area, while the objectives are:

1.   To examine the nature of men attitude towards family planning in Sokoto North Local Government Area.

2.   To examine the level of knowledge and information of family planning among men in Sokoto North Local Government Area

3.   To examine the influence of socio-cultural factor on the attitude of men towards family planning in Sokoto North Local Government Area.

4.   To examine the level of decision making of their wives towards

family planning.

1.5    SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

Due to the population growth of the country, the Federal Government has formulated the national population policy, which recognizes men as an important group to be considered in population programmes and family planning. Therefore, the attitudes of men towards family panning in Sokoto North Local Government need to be further investigated since men make most contributions on family planning issues.

In order to design convenient service, provide contraceptive choice for men and promote image of men as role model who, cooperate with women in family planning, methods, then their attitudes needs to be examined. Therefore, this research will provide necessary information for the governmental and non-governmental agencies who are interested in the fertility control programme on how possible way to reduce the fertility rates in the country. Also, the men in this local government will be educated on the importance of family planning methods and need to participate actively on this programme. In the past, family planning programmes have majority focused attention on woman and ignored the roles of men who take decision on family issues.

1.6    SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This research work is on the attitudes of men towards family planning in Sokoto North Local Government Area. Therefore, this is aimed at examining the attitudes of men towards family, the major of

respond suggest of that FP could be promoted via campaigns to create awareness; sensitization activities for opinion/religious leaders, and, intensified media programs on FP. Other suggested activities were community activities through role plays and local dramas.

1.7       DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS

Family Planning:- is a way by which individuals couple and familiesexercise their basic right in family formation process. This is to improve their living standard, health and life expectancy by deciding freely, and responsively on issues like when to start child bearing and to seek help for delayed child bearing choice, spacing, pregnancies and child birth appropriately, when to stop child bearing and regulating family sizes in relation to the available family resources. This however, is the control of fertility which can take the form of drugs, male/female condoms organ withdrawal method etc.


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