26 Mar 2018

Fijian women in NZ's access to contraception worse than those in Fiji

7:58 am on 26 March 2018

A new study suggests that Fijian women living in New Zealand do not have accessible options to family planning information compared to women in Fiji.

Contraception/ contraceptive pill

Photo: filmfoto/123RF

More than 350 women from both countries participated in the study between 2012 and 2013.

A programme leader for postgraduate Public Health at Auckland University of Technology, Radilaite Cammock, surveyed indigenous Fijian, or iTaukei, women about their awareness and use of contraception.

Dr Cammock was surprised to see that Fijian women living in New Zealand had poorer results, given contraception is readily available to the wider population.

She said all women in Fiji received family planning information in the hospital postnatally, but in New Zealand they were only exposed to direct information if they visited their GP.

"Women are having to access, they're actually having to go out and seek this service instead of having it just be given to them in a hospital like we have in Fiji, so access actually is something that's very important here because even though the services are available, how are women going out to seek them, are they? And if they are, what drives those decisions?"

Fijian women in New Zealand who were surveyed indicated two main factors in regard to the accessibility to family planning information.

The cost of an appointment with their local GP was one problem. If the person did not have a community service card, the visit would be expensive. Also, the cost of organising a trip to see the GP. The majority of the women surveyed had a number of children and organising the family plays into their perception around the cost.

The other factor was most women were concerned that there would not be a female health professional available to provide contraception advice and information.

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