Open Access Research article

Women’s perceptions and reflections of male partners and couple dynamics in family planning adoption in selected urban slums in Nigeria: a qualitative exploration

Joshua Oyeniyi Aransiola125*, Akanni Ibukun Akinyemi35 and Adesegun Olayiwola Fatusi45

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

2 School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa

3 Department of Demography and Social Statistics, Faculty of Social Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

4 Department of Community Health & Institute of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

5 Population and Reproductive Health Programme, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria

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BMC Public Health 2014, 14:869  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-869

Published: 23 August 2014



Nigeria is one of the countries where significant progress has not been recorded in contraceptive uptake despite decades of family planning programs while there are indications that slum dwellers may differ significantly from other urban dwellers in their sexual and reproductive behavior, including family planning uptake. This study therefore examined local notions regarding male partners’ involvement in family planning (FP) adoption by women in two selected urban slums areas in Nigeria – Ibadan (Southwest region) and Kaduna (Northwest region). Specifically, the study investigated women’s narratives about FP, perceived barriers from male partners regarding FP adoption by the women and how women negotiate male partners' cooperation for FP use.


Sixteen FGD sessions were conducted with selected groups of men and women, stratified by sex, age group, and FP experience using a vignette to generate discussions. Sessions were facilitated by experienced social scientists and audio-taped, with note-taker also present. The transcribed data were analyzed with Atlas.ti software version 7. Inductive approach was employed to analyze the data. Reasons given for FP attitudes and use are presented in a network format while critical discourse analysis was also used in generating relevant tables.


The finding shows that women in the selected communities expressed desire for FP adoption. Three main reasons largely accounted for the desire to use FP: perceived need to space childbirth, family’s financial condition and the potential adverse effect of high fertility on the woman’s health. Male partners’ support for the use of FP by women was perceived to be low, which is due to misconceptions about FP and traditional pro-natalistic beliefs and tendencies. Mechanisms by which women negotiate their male-partner’s cooperation for FP adoption include seeking the support of the partner’s significant others and advice from older women.


To significantly improve family planning adoption rates among urban slum dwellers in Nigeria, there is the need to specifically and specially target men alongside their female partners as well as other stakeholders who have significant influences at family and community level.

Male Partners; Family Planning; Nigeria; Urban Slums