COVID-19 and Contraceptive Use in Two African Countries: Examining Conflicting Pressures on Women


Women in Africa may have experienced conflicting pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the unpredictable nature of the pandemic was prompting some women to delay pregnancies, the pandemic was potentially limiting access to reproductive health services due to supply shortages, fears of virus exposure, and mobility restrictions. In this study, we used longitudinal data from Kenya and Burkina Faso and applied a multilevel perspective to better understand the factors contributing to change or persistence in contraceptive use during the early months of the pandemic. We found a marginal increase in contraceptive uptake in the early days of the pandemic. Multilevel logistic regression results revealed that interpersonal trust and accurate knowledge of COVID-19 precautions were associated with a greater likelihood of initiating contraception. These factors appeared to have provided women with confidence to navigate the complicated COVID-19 landscape. At the same time, we observed a decrease in contraceptive use in regions with high COVID-19 cases, suggesting the virus was limiting access to contraception in some contexts. These findings highlighted the need for public health officials to ensure that women have the necessary knowledge and ability to safely access contraception during public health crises, when overall demand for contraception may be increasing.

Population and Development Review
Jiao Yu
Jiao Yu
Postdoctoral Associate

Aging and Life Course, Health Disparities, Machining Learning, Quantitative Methods