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Levels, trends and reasons for unmet need for family planning among married women in Botswana: a cross-sectional study

31 Mar 2015


The objectives of this study are: (1) to estimate the prevalence of unmet need for family planning among married women using Botswana Family Health Survey 2007 data and (2) to identify risk factors for unmet need for family planning among married women.


This study used secondary data from a cross-sectional survey that was conducted to provide a snapshot of health issues in Botswana.


Nationally representative population survey data.


2601 married or in union women aged 15–49 years who participated in the 2007 Botswana Family Health Survey were included in the analysis.

Primary outcome

Unmet need for family planning, which was defined as the percentage of all fecund married women who are not using a method of contraception even though they do not want to get pregnant.


Married women who had unmet need for family planning were 9.6% in 2007. Most of the unmet need was for limiting (6.7%) compared to spacing (2.9%). Unmet need for family planning was more likely to be among women whose partners disapproved of family planning, non-Christians, had one partner and had never discussed family planning with their partner. Women of low parity, aged 25–34 years, and greater exposure to mass media, were less likely to have experienced unmet need. The patterns and magnitude of covariates differed between unmet need for limiting and for spacing.


The prevalence of unmet need for family planning was low in Botswana compared to other sub-Saharan African countries. The findings from this study reemphasise the importance of women's empowerment and men's involvement in women's sexual and reproductive healthcare needs and services. Different approaches are needed to satisfy the demand for family planning for spacing and limiting.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open