Date of Completion
Prof. Judy Lewis, Dr. Stacey Brown, Dr. Stephen Schensul
Field of Study
Master of Public Health
Introduction: According to Panama’s 2009 National Sexual and Reproductive Health Survey, only 19% of indigenous women in Panama use modern family planning (FP) methods. Despite the Ngäbe representing 62% of the indigenous population, there is limited research on their use of FP.
Methodology: 14 Ngäbe communities in Bocas del Toro were surveyed. Women between the ages of 18 and 50, and had >2 children completed a survey to assess knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding family planning.
Results: A total of 148 women were enrolled, mean age was 32.18; mean number of pregnancies was 5. 32.4% of women were currently using FP while 40.5% of women have never used any FP methods. 51% of women had an unmet need for FP. Respondents with unmet need for FP reported concerns about side effects (32%) and lack of access (21%) as barriers to using FP. Women with indigenous religions were less likely than all other religious groups to use FP (χ2 = 5.2, p = .034). Family planning use was more likely in women who received information on FP during prenatal visits (χ2=8.5, p=.003), who received information on FP from health care providers (χ2=7.5, p=.006), and who talked with a health care provider about FP during the last year (χ2=7.5, p=.006).
Conclusions: There is a clear unmet need for FP among the Ngäbe population. Future interventions could involve community-based outreach that link community members to health care providers to educate about the side effects of modern FP methods and increase access to FP.
Vicens Cardona, Carolina, "Social Factors Influencing Family Planning Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices in the Ngäbe Population in Bocas del Toro and the Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé, Panama" (2020). Master's Theses. 1493.
Prof. Judy Lewis