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Barriers to preventing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections as experienced by women in Fort Dauphin, southeast Madagascar

Laura Robson, Jessica Morris, Mamy Soafaly Andriatsihosena.


As part of a broader investigation into maternal and child health, this study aimed to explore barriers to preventing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) for women in southeast Madagascar, in order to inform the development of interventions by a local non-governmental organisation.


A year-long mixed methods study was conducted. Qualitative information was obtained from 246 participants through focus groups, single-event and serial qualitative interviews. Quantitative data was collected through a closed-ended questionnaire with a sample of 373 women of reproductive age. Data was analysed using pre-determined and emerging themes.


Family planning and sexual health services are not well integrated into other health services, nor routinely offered. Barriers to contraceptive use include actual or perceived side effects of hormonal methods, inaccurate information from health providers, and lack of support from partners or family members. STI prevalence is high, concurrent sexual relationships are common, and condom use is limited.


Women's ability to prevent unintended pregnancies and STIs could be improved through measures aiming to dispel misconceptions about eligibility for and perceived risks of hormonal contraceptives, increase support for family planning among partners and families, and reframe the socio-cultural meaning of condom use in sexual relationships.

Key topics:
Community Health
Year of publication:
Published in:
The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care, 2015 Jul; 20(6):451-462.
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