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Women's Autonomy in Health Decision-Making and Its Effect on Access to Family Planning Services in Senegal in 2017: A Propensity Score Analysis
Authors: N M Sougou, O Bassoum, A Faye, and M M M Leye
Source: BMC Public Health, 20(1): 872; DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-09003-x
Topic(s): Family planning
Household decision-making
Women's autonomy
Women's health
Country: Africa
Published: JUN 2020
Abstract: Background: The effect of women's autonomy in decision-making for fertility control has been highlighted by research. The objective of this study was to analyze the effect of women's autonomy over decision-making regarding their health and access to family planning in Senegal in 2017. Methods: The analyses in this study were carried out using data from the Senegal Demographic and Health Survey in 2017. The sample consisted of 8865 women aged 15-49. The propensity score-matching method was applied. Autonomy in health decision-making was considered the treatment variable. Matching was performed using confounding variables. The outcome variables were the current use of modern contraceptive methods and the existence of unmet needs. The common support condition had been met. The analysis was conducted using STATA.15 software. Results: This study showed that 6.26% of women had decision-making autonomy in relation to their health. For 80.33% of the women, their husbands/partners made health-related decisions for them. Decision-making autonomy increased significantly with the age of the woman (p < 0.05). In addition, 15.24% of women were using a modern method of contraception. An estimated 26.2% of women had unmet needs. Propensity score matching split the women into two groups based on autonomy over decision-making for their health. After matching, there was no longer a significant difference between women who were autonomous with respect to their decision-making and those who were not autonomous with respect to their current use of a modern contraceptive method. On the other hand, there was a 14.42% reduction (p < 0.05) in unmet needs for family planning in the group of women who were autonomous with respect to their health decision-making. Conclusion: Autonomy in health decision-making would reduce unmet needs among Senegalese women. These results show the importance of accounting for gender in health interventions for the accessibility of family planning services. Keywords: Autonomy of decision-making for health; Family planning; Senegal.