Rwandan population density has grown for over 70% for the last decade despite the introduction of population control program in the early 1980s, making it among the most densely populated countries in the world. Although family planning programs have been supported by the government by making them available and affordable, the contraceptive prevalence among women has remained on average. This study was conducted to explore the influence of mass media on family planning methods use among couples in Gashenyi Sector.
Methods: The study was conducted in two health centres in Gashenyi Sector using 351 couples, heads of health centers and the Executive Secretary of the sector. A self-administered questionnaire was used as the main tool of data collection, while an interview guide was used to the Executive Secretary and the heads of the health centres to compliment the main instrument. Data was analysed using description statistics and Pearson Product Correlation to determine the usage of family planning methods and influence of mass media strategy on the adherence to the methods, respectively. The information from key informants was analysed using thematic analysis.
Results: The findings revealed the level of listening to radio to be very high, whereas that of reading on posters, watching TV and reading newspapers were very low. Although lactational amenorrhea (natural method), pills, condom and emergency contraceptive (modern methods) scored high to moderate mean, the usage of family planning methods were generally low. Further, there existed low positive relationship between mass media strategies and the use of family planning methods (3.8%)
Conclusion: There is a clear evidence that mass media has not influenced the use of family planning methods among Gashenyi residents. However, radio stands to be the most accessible and affordable media in rural setting, thus, it must be extensively used to promote the use of family planning methods. On average, usage of natural family planning methods was low, while that of modern methods was even lower. Concerted effort by the government in needed to reinforce the availability of media, especially in rural areas.