Effective strategies for increasing the uptake of modern methods of family planning in South Asia: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Zahid Ali Memon, Tahmeena, Syeda Aleena Fazal, Sophie Reale, Rachael Spencer, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Hora Soltani

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Background: Family planning (FP) interventions have improved the use of modern contraceptives, yet a high unmet need for contraception still exists in South Asia. This systematic review of existing research was conducted to identify effective FP interventions that led to an increase in the uptake of modern methods of contraception in South Asia. Methods: Five electronic databases were searched for relevant studies published between January 1st, 2000 and May 4, 2023. Experimental studies that reported data on the impact of FP interventions on modern contraceptive use among women of reproductive age (15–49 years) in the South Asian region were included. A random-effects Inverse Variance weighted model was employed to pool the adjusted odds ratio (OR) on modern contraceptive use and unmet need for contraception. In addition, we computed subgroup meta-estimates based on intervention type and the urban-rural divide. Results: Among 643 studies identified, 21 met the inclusion criteria. The overall pooled odds ratio for modern contraceptive use was significantly higher (OR 1.51; 95% CI 1.35–1.70; heterogeneity; I2 = 81%) for FP interventions with a significant reduction in unmet need for contraception (OR 0.86; 95% CI 0.78–0.94, I2 = 50%). The subgroup analysis revealed demand-generation (OR 1.61; 95% CI 1.32–1.96), health system integrated (OR 1.53; 95% CI 1.07–2.20), and franchised FP clinic interventions (OR 1.32; 95% CI 1.21–1.44) had promoted the modern contraceptive uptake. Further, FP interventions implemented in urban settings showed a higher increase in modern contraceptive use (OR 1.73; 95% CI 1.44–2.07) compared to rural settings (OR 1.46; 95% CI 1.28–1.66). Given the considerable heterogeneity observed across studies and the low degree of certainty indicated by the GRADE summary for the primary outcome, caution is advised when interpreting the results. Conclusion: The review collated experimentally evaluated FP interventions that increased modern contraception use and reduced the unmet need in South Asia. The demand generation interventions were the most effective in increasing the uptake of modern contraceptive methods. Furthermore, the urban environment provides a conducive environment for interventions to improve contraceptive usage. However, further studies should assess which aspects were most effective on attitudes towards contraception, selection of more effective methods, and contraceptive behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalBMC Women's Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024


  • Contraception
  • Demand-side intervention
  • Effectiveness
  • Family planning
  • Meta-analysis
  • Supply-side intervention
  • Systematic review


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