A new article published in Contraception aims to understand levels and patterns of underreporting of female sterilization in a population with high sterilization rates. This study demonstrates, in a population with high sterilization, that sterilization as a current contraceptive method would be substantially underestimated using conventional survey questions.
The researchers analyzed data from the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) survey conducted in Rajasthan, India, in early 2017. The article, entitled, “Reporting sterilization as a current contraceptive method among sterilized women: lessons learned from a population with high sterilization rates, Rajasthan, India” was published on October 31, 2018.
In addition to a conventional question used to ascertain current contraceptive use, the survey included a probing question; women who did not report sterilization as a current method were asked if they were ever sterilized. Women were defined as sterilization users based on either question.
Dr. Yoonjoung Choi, Deputy Director for PMA2020, Danish Ahmed, Project Manager for PMA2020 India, and their collaborating authors found the following results:
- Among women who were ever sterilized, 78% reported currently using any contraceptive method(s), and 77% reported sterilization as the current method.
- Women in the lowest household wealth quintile or in general caste were less likely to report sterilization as a current method.
- Time since sterilization was not associated with correct reporting of sterilization.
PMA2020 uses innovative mobile technology to support low-cost, rapid-turnaround surveys to monitor key family planning and other health indicators on an annual basis. The program is implemented by local universities and research organizations in 11 countries, deploying a cadre of female resident data collectors trained in mobile data collection. Overall direction and support are provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and funding is provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.