What is the association between IPV and Fertility in Uganda?

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IPV, which emanates as a severe consequence of gender inequality in society, is the most pervasive form of IPV as most cases of abuse is perpetrated by intimate partners and has major health consequences for women. Women with a history of abuse are also at increased risk of reproductive health outcomes; such as high parity, inconsistent and lower levels of contraceptive use, unintended pregnancies, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Despite concerted efforts by African governments, fertility levels in the region remain high. Africa is the region that has been least responsive to family planning programmes. This study investigates the associations between IPV and fertility in Uganda, using the Ugandan Demographic and Health Survey of 2011. Adult women of reproductive ages (15-49) that were included in the domestic violence module of the individual recode, were included in this study. Univariate, bivariate analysis, and unadjusted and adjusted Poisson Regression models were conducted for children ever born and the different forms of IPV (emotional, physical and sexual), as well as the socio-demographic and women’s empowerment variables. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses show a strong association between both these pervasive health problematics; and may therefore be one of the unexplained proximate determinants of persistently high fertility in countries such as Uganda. These results have important implications for understanding both the fertility transition in Uganda, but also for programmes and policies addressing unwanted pregnancies and unmet need for contraception that is driving fertility up, and IPV amongst women which we know from previous work has severe reproductive health outcomes but which we have now identified is a contributor to high fertility as well.

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