Fear of contraceptives in Tanzania

28 January 2017

Because of the low uptake of contraceptives, Tanzania continues to feature an extremely high fertility rate of five children per mother. In her quest to explain the limited popularity of contraceptives in her home country, Idda Mosha stumbled upon both familiar and unfamiliar reasons. She defended her thesis on 27 January at Radboud University.

A “usual suspect” she encountered was the weak bargaining power of women vis-à-vis their husbands as well as the lack of communication between spouses on family planning issues. In addition, her informants stressed the social risk inherent in contraceptive use by women, as it is interpreted as a sign of promiscuity. Conservative social norms were not exclusively to blame, however. An important motive for women to avoid contraceptives is the fear of negative side effects, including the development of tumours and deformations in babies. Apart from the direct impact on health, its financial consequences is a major cause for concern. As long as public policies do not tackle these fears head on, the impact of investments in contraceptive adoption is likely to remain small.

Idda Hubert Mosha

Idda Hubert Mosha (Dar es Salaam, 1973) obtained a BA in Sociology and an MA in Medical Sociology, both at the University of Dar es Salaam. Since 2007, she has worked as a lecturer at the Department of Behavioural Sciences of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Her PhD research  received funding from the WOTRO-Hewlett PopDev programme in the 'Impact of reproductive health services on socio-economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa: Connecting evidence at macro, meso and micro-level' project of Prof. Ruerd Ruben.

Source: NWO