The 1997 Family Planning Survey (FPS) is a nationwide survey aimed at collecting information on contraceptive use in the Philippines in 1997. It is the third in a series of annual family planning surveys to be conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO) from 1995 to 2000 with funding assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This survey was conducted nine months after the July 1996 survey.
The 1997 FPS revealed that 47.0 percent of currently married women aged 15 to 49 years reported current use of some method of contraception in 1997. This is lower than the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) of 48.1 percent recorded in 1996. The drop in the CPR between 1996 and 1997 was the result of a decline in the prevalence rate of traditional family planning methods (16.1 percent in 1997 versus 17.9 percent in 1996) but a slight increase in the prevalence rate for modern contraceptive methods from 30.2 percent in 1996 to 30.9 percent in 1997.
The contraceptive prevalence rate varied by age group. Contraceptive use among currently married women peaked at ages 35 to 39 years (55.5 percent) and was lowest at ages 15 to 19 years (25.9 percent). Three out of ten (31.4 percent) of currently married women in the oldest age group (45 to 49 years) were using contraceptives in 1997.
Contraceptive choice differed by age group. The pill was generally preferred over female sterilization and calendar method by currently married women below the age of 35 years. In contrast, female sterilization was preferred over the pill and calendar method by women 35 years and over.
The rate of contraceptive use was higher in urban areas than in rural areas (50.0 percent versus 44.1 percent). This was due mainly to the higher prevalence of female sterilization, pill, and condom use in urban areas than in rural areas (12.3 percent versus 8.8 percent, 13.4 percent versus 11.6 percent, and 2.2 percent versus 1.1 percent, respectively).
CPR also varied by region. It ranged from a low of 13.0 percent for ARMM to a high of almost 60.0 percent for Northern Mindanao and Southern Mindanao. Modern methods were more likely to be used than traditional methods except in Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Central Mindanao and ARMM where the CPR for modern methods was not substantially different from that for traditional methods. Pills and female sterilization were the most popular methods in most of the regions.
The CPR was lowest among currently married women who were childless (3.6 percent) and highest among those with three children (59.0 percent). For women who had four or more children, the CPR declined as the number of children increased.
Women with one to six children preferred modern methods to traditional methods. The pill was preferred by women with one or two children (13.2 percent and 17.9 percent, respectively). On the other hand, female sterilization was the most preferred method by women with three, four, five or six children (17.1, 18.9, 14.0, and 12.7 percent, respectively). Among childless women and women with seven or more children, the CPR for modern methods was not considerably different from that for traditional methods.
Generally, women with higher educational attainment were more likely to use any method of contraception than those with lower educational attainment or no education at all. Women who did not complete any grade registered the lowest CPR (13.3 percent), followed by women who completed Grade I to V (36.0 percent). On the other hand, contraceptive use did not vary considerably among women who completed elementary or higher level of education. The use of any modern method did not also differ markedly from that of any traditional method among women who had not completed any grade, while modern methods were preferred over traditional methods by women who had at least an elementary education.
Women involved in gainful occupation were more likely to use contraception than those not engaged in gainful occupation (49.8 percent versus 45.5 percent). However, currently married women, irrespective of whether they were gainful workers or not, preferred pill, female sterilization, and the calendar/rhythm method over other methods.
About three out of four women (72.9 percent) obtained their supplies from a public source. In contrast, about one out of four women (24.2 percent) obtained her supply from a private source. Within the public sector, the most important sources of supply of modern contraceptive methods were the government hospital and rural health unit/urban health center. More than half (54.2 percent) of women obtained their supply of injectables from a rural health unit/urban health center. Also, almost half (48.2 percent) of women who were reported with IUD had the insertion performed in a rural health unit/urban health center. Together with the barangay health station (32.5 percent), the rural health unit/urban health center (35.5 percent) was the major source of supply of pills. Meanwhile, almost six out of 10 (59.0 percent) women who have been ligated had the operation in a government hospital.
TOMAS P. AFRICA