The Same Contraceptive Method but Different Stories: A Comparative Qualitative Study of the Misconceptions Associated with Contraceptive Use in Southern and Northern Ghana

Philip B. Adongo, Navrongo Health Research Centre
James F. Phillips, Columbia University
Placide Tapsoba, Population Council
Allison Stone, Columbia University
Philip Tabong, University of Ghana

A descriptive qualitative study was undertaken to elicit information on the nature and form of misconceptions associated with contraceptive use among residents in northern and southern Ghana. Focus group discussions were conducted with male and female community members and in-depth interviews were carried out with health managers, community-based nurses, male community leaders and health volunteers. Findings indicate that misconceptions regarding contraceptive use are widespread but not altogether different between northern and southern Ghana. Contraceptives are perceived to predispose women to primary and secondary infertility, uterine fibroids and cancer. In northern Ghana condom use is rumored to lead to male impotency. Contraceptive acceptors are stigmatized and ridiculed as promiscuous, particularly in southern Ghana. Findings highlight a lack of accurate information underlying fears and misconceptions about contraception in both localities. Strategies aimed at providing accurate information to address misconceptions are needed to dispel these barriers to family planning acceptance.

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Presented in Session 22: Strengthening Reproductive Health Programs in Developing Countries