Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 July 2006
Access to and quality of services have increasingly been the focus of family planning programme managers, implementers and researchers in the developing world. In Vietnam, a country characterized by recent significant achievements in family planning, not much is known about the linkages between service accessibility and quality and contraceptive behaviour. Data for this study come from the Vietnam 1997 Demographic and Health Survey, with individual contraceptive use information recorded in the calendar section. Measures of access to and quality of services come from the Community/Health Facility Questionnaire, with key informant interviews and facility visits. The study focuses on the effects of the outreach programme and commune health centres on contraceptive method discontinuation for three modern, temporary methods: the IUD, oral pills and condoms. Longer travel time to commune health centres is found to be associated with significantly increased risks of first- and all-method discontinuation for any reason, while residence in communities with higher quality health centres is associated with significantly lower risks of method discontinuation. Access to and quality of the outreach programme are, in contrast, not significant determinants of method discontinuation for any reason. Similar results are found for first- and all-method discontinuation for service-related reasons. The effects of programmatic factors are more pronounced among older women and during the first three months of method use. This study provides evidence for the importance of family planning services for contraceptive method continuation in Vietnam. The results also highlight the need for a thorough evaluation of the family planning outreach programme in terms of its facilitation of women’s continued use of contraception.
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