Overestimating Unmet Need? Underreporting of Natural Contraceptive Methods in Demographic and Health Surveys: Results from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Clémentine Rossier, University of Geneva
Leigh G. Senderowicz, Université de Ouagadougou and Harvard University

Analyzing the first contraceptive surveys in France in the 1960s, researchers noticed that natural method use was being underreported, and added follow-up questions to correct for this bias. The Demographic and Health Surveys do not currently ask targeted questions on natural methods, leaving the strong possibility that a similar underreporting phenomenon is taking place in developing countries today. We tested this hypothesis by comparing the results of the 2010 DHS for Ouagadougou to those of a health survey conducted in 2010 in the Ouagadougou Demographic and Health Surveillance System (Ouaga HDSS) which included follow-up questions on natural methods. According to the latter survey, 32.0% married women ages 15-49 use a modern method, and 26.0% a natural method, for a total contraceptive prevalence of 58.0%. These numbers are measured at 32.6%, 5% and 37.6% respectively in the 2010 DHS. We will compute a new estimate of unmet need for family planning.

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Presented in Session 145: Methodological Perspectives on Contraceptive Use Analysis