“Why will I use Family Planning? I don’t want to have a family yet.” Defining the Delayers, an overlooked Family Planning audience
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Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs/USAID Reac hHealth Project, Philippines
RTI Philippines, USAID ReachHealth Project, Philippines
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A889
Demand generation for family planning (FP) in the Philippines has always focused on reaching Filipino couples with at least one child. This leaves out women who do not have any children yet and want to delay their first pregnancy. Among unmarried, sexually active women, only 17% used contraceptives despite 49% of the segment expressing an unmet need for FP use (NDHS 2017). FP is perceived by Filipinos to primarily be for married people. As one young woman interviewee expressed: “Why will I use family planning? I don’t want to have a family yet.” We dubbed this overlooked audience group “the Delayers.” USAID ReachHealth launched It’s OK to Delay (IOTD), a social media platform to reach the Delayers–young, sexually active individuals aged 18-34 who may want to have a child someday, but not today. It is a refreshing take on FP, reminding the Delayers about their goals while providing information on how they can achieve these with the help of FP. IOTD uses an engaging and humorous tone to provide lifestyle and informational content about FP, emphasizing the benefits of proper and effective FP use. Since its launch, IOTD has reached over 20 million individuals and currently has 64,000 followers. A December 2021 IOTD online survey revealed that 79% of respondents are either interested in using FP or have experience using FP, demonstrating the Delayers have FP needs distinct from that of adolescents and couples with one child or more. Social media allows us to establish a two-way line of communication with the Delayers, linking individuals towards service provision. IOTD also highlights the importance of ensuring good service delivery, with many sharing experiences in dealing with biased providers who refuse service provision due to being unmarried, or not yet having children. A lot of work still needs to be done.
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