Document Type



Family Medicine (East Africa); Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Background: Contraceptive usage has been associated with improved maternal and child health (MCH) outcomes. Despite significant resources being allocated to programs, there has been sub-optimal uptake of contraception, especially in the developing world. It is important therefore, to granulate factors that determine uptake and utilization of contraceptive services so as to inform effective programming.

Methods: Between March and December 2015, we conducted a cross-sectional survey among women of reproductive age (WRA) from the Digo community residing in Kwale County, Kenya. The study aimed to describe the pattern and determinants of contraceptive usage in this population. Respondents were selected using stratified, systematic sampling and completed a household sexual and reproductive health (SRH) questionnaire.

Results: We interviewed 745 respondents from 15 villages in 2 out of 4 sub-counties of Kwale. Their median (interquartile range, IQR) age was 29 (23–37) years. 568 (76%) reported being currently in a marital union. Among these, 308 (54%) were using a contraceptive method. The total unmet need, unmet need for spacing and for limiting was 16%, 8% and 8%, respectively. Determinants of contraceptive usage were education [adjusted Odds Ratio, aOR = 2.1, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.4–3.4, P = 0.001]; having children [aOR = 5.0, 95% CI: 1.7–15.0, P = 0.004]; having attended antenatal care (ANC) at last delivery [aOR = 4.0, 95% CI: 1.1–14.8, P = 0.04] as well as intention to stop or delay future birth [aOR = 6.7, 95% CI: 3.3–13.8, P < 0.0001].

Conclusions: We found high levels of contraceptive usage among WRA from the Digo community residing in Kwale. To further improve uptake and utilization of contraception in this setting, programs should address demand-side factors including ensuring female educational attainment as well as promotion of ANC and skilled birth attendance

Publication (Name of Journal)

BMC Women's Health