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Non-marital contraception in sub-Saharan Africa: levels, trends and determinants

Jacob A. Adetunji, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Although it is known that contraceptive use is not limited to people in marital unions, the conventional indicator for contraceptive prevalence focuses on women in unions. Very little is done to track the contraceptive behavior of single but sexually active women (SSAW). Therefore, using data from 16 sub-Saharan African countries that have participated three or more times in the DHS program, this paper investigates the patterns, trends and determinants of modern contraceptive use among SSAW. The results show a steep increase in modern contraceptive prevalence rate (MCPR) among SSAW in sub-Saharan Africa. The ratio of MCPR among SSAW compared to women in union is as much as 10:1. The widest divergence in MCPR among SSAW and married women is in low prevalence countries in West Africa. The most common contraceptive method among SSAW is the condom while injectables predominate among married women. The implications of these results are discussed.

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Presented in Session 103: Emerging patterns and determinants of contraceptive use