New findings: Muslim leaders’ perspectives key to shaping family planning interventions in rural Tanzanian communities

CGH faculty Dr. Jennifer Downs, CGH staff Alex Cordeiro, and Mwanza Christian College Director Agrey Mwakisole and their long-time project partners* in Mwanza, Tanzania recently published a paper on better understanding the perspectives of Muslim religious leaders in rural communities on family planning (FP). Uptake of effective contraceptive methods can be hindered by poor understanding and uncertainty about its compatibility with religious beliefs, so further investigating these perspectives was crucial in moving forward with providing FP education to leaders and their communities.

Investigators interviewed 17 male and 15 female Muslim religious leaders across 4 communities in northwest Tanzania. The qualitative data reveals insights into how education for Muslim leaders may equip them to enhance understanding of FP in their communities and promote strategies to reduce the risk of maternal mortality, such as birth spacing. The study’s findings will guide the design and pilot-testing of an educational intervention for Muslim religious leaders to promote FP knowledge and uptake around the country.

Key findings and their impact on future maternal health programs can be found online here.

* Bugando Medical Centre; Misungwi District Hospital; Nyamagana District Hospital; Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences; Keble College, University of Oxford

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