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Barriers in accessing family planning services in Nepal during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study.

Sigdel, A., Bista, A., Sapkota, H. and Teijlingen, E. v., 2023. Barriers in accessing family planning services in Nepal during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study. PLoS One, 18 (5), e0285248.

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Barriers in accessing family planning services in Nepal during the COVID-19 pandemic A qualitative study.pdf - Published Version
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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0285248


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 virus is still with us, and in resource-limited countries, like Nepal, resurgence of a new variant is still a threat. In this pandemic, low-income countries struggle to provide essential public health services, including family planning. This study was conducted to explore what sorts of barriers are faced by women needing family planning services in Nepal during the pandemic. METHODS: This qualitative study was conducted in five districts of Nepal. Telephonic in-depth interviews were conducted with 18 women of reproductive age (18-49 years) who were the regular clients of family planning services. Data were coded deductively using the preexisting themes based on a socio-ecological model (e.g., individual, family, community, and health-facility levels). RESULTS: Individual level barriers included low self-confidence, inadequate knowledge on COVID-19, myths and misconception related to COVID-19, limited access to FP services low priority to SRH services, low autonomy in family and limited financial ability. Family level barriers comprised of partner's support, social stigma, increased time at home with husbands or parents, un-acceptance of family planning services as essential health services, financial hardship due to loss of jobs, and communication with in-laws. Movement restrictions and transportation hindering access, unsecured feeling, violation of privacy, and obstacles from security personnel were the community level barriers and unavailability of preferred choice of contraception, increased waiting time, limited outreach services by community health workers, limited physical infrastructures, the behavior of health workers, stock out of commodities, and absence of health workers were health facility level barriers. CONCLUSION: This study highlighted key barriers faced by women in seeking family planning services during the COVID-19 lockdown in Nepal. Policymakers and program managers should consider strategies to ensure continued availability of the full method mix during emergency, particularly since disruptions may go unnoticed and strengthen the provision of services through alternative service delivery channels to ensure sustained uptake of such services in this sort of pandemic.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Humans; Female; Adolescent; Young Adult; Adult; Middle Aged; Family Planning Services; Pandemics; Nepal; COVID-19; Communicable Disease Control
Group:Faculty of Health & Social Sciences
ID Code:38546
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:22 May 2023 14:04
Last Modified:22 May 2023 14:04


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