An Evaluation of Interpersonal Communication and Its Impact on Awareness Level of Family Planning Among Rural Women in Imo State




1.1       Background of the study

Acceptance and usage of family planning among married women in Nigeria has become a sensitive subject, since married women in Nigeria tend to have a large number of children, overlooking the relevance and benefits of family planning. Individuals and couples can use family planning to anticipate and achieve their desired number of children, as well as the spacing and timing of their births. It is accomplished by using contraceptive techniques and treating involuntary infertility (Ofonime J, Ikobong E.2016). The capacity of a woman to space and restrict her pregnancies has a direct influence on her health and well-being, as well as the outcome of each pregnancy, according to Ngwu C. (2014). Family planning/contraception minimizes the need for abortion, particularly unsafe abortion, lowers infant mortality, aids in HIV/AIDS prevention, empowers individuals and improves education, decreases adolescent pregnancies, and slows unsustainable population increase.

As a control technique, family planning may be extremely beneficial in limiting the number of children a woman can have. Condoms, oral contraceptives, implants, injections, intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD), female sterilization (hysterectomy), cervical cap, coitus interrupt, and lactational amenorrhea method (LAM) are only a few examples of successful contraceptive treatments. Family planning necessitates behavior change, which may be done by IEC advocacy efforts in society, particularly among women, to raise knowledge and encourage usage, which is a difficult task. This can aid in the availability of knowledge, as well as safe, economical, effective, and accepted contraceptive techniques (Tilahun T, Coene G, Luchters S, Kassahun W, Leye E, Temmerman M, 2013). People can make educated decisions regarding their reproductive health if they have the necessary knowledge and information about the new behavior and its implications.

In terms of reproductive health, communication is crucial. The process of communicating information, generally via a shared protocol, is known as communication. Interaction, transactivity, purposeful or inadvertent communication, as well as verbal and nonverbal communication, are all possibilities. It simply encourages women to quit their harmful habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle. According to Umoh A. and Abah M. (2011), in family planning, Behavior Change Communication (BCC) is one of the programs or activities that can help people practice a healthy behavior by raising reproductive health awareness and resulting in behaviors that improve women’s health and related long-term outcomes. It also encourages people to seek treatment and ensures that they are able to utilize their preferred form of contraception successfully. BCC programs frequently employ interpersonal communication (IPC) to raise awareness through teaching women about contraception usage and sexuality concerns. It also builds on IEC, emphasizing the importance of strategic communication guided by systematic procedures and behavioral theories. As a result, interpersonal ties must have an impact on an individual’s decision to transition to a healthier behavior.

In his research on raising awareness about family planning, Ngwu C. (2014) claims that interpersonal communication (IPC) entails a direct face-to-face interaction between the sender and the message recipient, who is in an interdependent relationship.

IPC occurs between a responder and a researcher and includes both verbal and nonverbal communication. Telephones, one-on-one communication such as counseling, training, and informal discussion groups amongst spouses, friends, and family are among the IPC communication channels used to convey the message. A high feedback component between individuals characterizes its proximity (it’s happening right now) and priority (it’s happening right now). As a result, it is particularly successful and efficient in health communication since it aids in influencing, assisting, discovering, and sharing information among those concerned.

1.2       Statement of the problem

The increasing population problem is one of the most serious issues confronting many countries in the early phases of demographic change. National family planning programs, which began in the mid-twentieth century, have evolved rapidly to meet the information and service needs of target groups, including women living in rural areas, according to researchers like Etokidem A, Ndifon W, Etowa J, and Asuquo E (2017). This is due to factors like as illiteracy, African cultural beliefs and customs, and husband domination, among others, which have made family planning difficult for married women in rural regions. Furthermore, because most of these women do not listen to radio or television news, it is necessary to engage them in interpersonal conversation. Due to the long-standing gap between contraceptive knowledge and usage, efforts have been made to raise awareness, convince, and advocate contraception use. According to Ikechebelu J. Joe-Ikechebelu N, Obiajulu F. (2005), global communications campaigns have been shown to increase contraceptive use, but it is unclear whether exposure to contraceptive messages through multiple media sources has a greater impact than exposure to messages through one medium. Much more important is that much more has to be learned about the relative efficacy of various types and channels of media, such as whether mass media or interpersonal communication has a higher influence. As a result, the researcher felt compelled to investigate the influence of both and determine in which situation this is the case. As a result, this study uses Imo State as a case study to try to understand the differential influence of interpersonal communication on contraceptive usage behavior in Nigeria.

1.3       Objective of the study

The broad objective of this study is to critically evaluate the impact of interpersonal communication  on awareness level of family planning among rural women in Imo State. Specifically the study seeks to:

  1. Determine the benefit of family planning to married women of childbearing age.
  2. Ascertain the factors hindering the practice of family planning among rural women
  3. Establish if lack of awareness and ignorance is the reason for lack of acceptance of family planning by rural women.
  4. Investigate if interpersonal communication will have any significant impact on the awareness level in family planning of  rural women.

1.4       Research Hypothesis

The research question is guided  by the following tentative statement:

HO1: Lack of awareness and ignorance is not the reason for non-acceptance of family planning by rural women.

HO2: Interpersonal communication will not have any significant impact on the awareness level in family planning of  rural women.

1.5       Significance of the study

Findings from the study will be helpful to rural women, healthcare practisioners and academia body. More It is hoped that the findings of this study will provide necessary information that will enhance activities and programs towards the practice of family planning to be appropriately conducted in rural areas. Finally the study will contribute to the general body of knowledge and existing literature on this subject even as it serves as reference material to both scholars and student who wishes to conduct further studies in related field of study.

1.6       Scope of the study

  1. The scope of this study borders on the evaluation on the impact ofinterpersonal communication  on awareness level of family planning among rural women. It will further ascertain the factors hindering the practice of family planning among rural women and establish if lack of awareness and ignorance is the reason for lack of acceptance of family planning by rural women. However the study will be delimited to rural women in Aboh Mbaise Local government of Imo State.

1.7       Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing that it is a new discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. However in spite of the constraint all these constraint were downplayed to give the best.

1.8       Definition of terms

Interpersonal communication-refers to a face to face verbal or non-verbal exchange of information between two or more people.

Family planning-a process of limiting or spacing children by using contraceptives. Contraceptive prevalence rate– This id the proportion of women of reproductive age who are using who are using a particular contraceptive method at one point in time. Mortality rate-a measure of number of deaths in a population.

Total fertility rate– number of children that could be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her child bearing years in accordance with current age specific fertility rates.


Etokidem A, Ndifon W, Etowa J, Asuquo E (2017). Family planning practices of rural community dwellers in cross River State, Nigeria. Niger J Clin Pract. ;20:707

Ikechebelu J. Joe-Ikechebelu N, Obiajulu F (2005) Knowledge, attitude and practice of family planning among Igbo women of south-eastern Nigeria. J Obstet Gynaecol. ;25:792–5.

Umoh A. Abah M (2011). Contraception awareness and practice among antenatal attendees in Uyo, Nigeria. Pan Afr Med J. 2011;10:53.

Tilahun T, Coene G, Luchters S, Kassahun W, Leye E, Temmerman M,(2013). Family planning knowledge, attitude and practice among married couples in Jimma Zone, Ethiopia. PLoS One. 8:e61335.

Ngwu C. (2014) Awareness and Attitude of Family Planning among Rural Women of Nsukka Local Government Area.

Ofonime J, Ikobong E.(2016) Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Family Planning among Women in a Rural Community in Southern Nigeria. Br J Med Med Res.;12:1–8.




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