Contraception plays a significant role in fertility regulation. Evidence suggests that reproductive health rights influence contraception use. Women of Mali are noted to have limited control over their healthcare decisions. As a result, this study aimed at investigating the association between women’s healthcare decision-making capacity and unmet need for contraception in Mali.
This study comprised 6593 women who participated in the 2018 Mali Demographic and Health Survey. Two binary logistic regression models were built. Whilst the first model (crude) involved healthcare decision-making capacity and unmet need for contraception, the second one was a complete model which controlled for all the socio-demographic characteristics. Sample weight was applied and Stata version 13.0 was used for all analyses.
Most of the women were not taking their healthcare decisions alone (92.8%). Nearly four out of ten of them indicated that they had unmet need for contraception (35.7%). Unmet need for contraception was high among women aged 45–49 (50.9%) and low among those aged 15–19 (19.2%). Unmet need for contraception was more probable among women who took their healthcare decisions alone compared to those who did not take their healthcare decisions alone [AOR = 1.35; CI = 1.08–1.70]. Compared with women aged 15–19, unmet need was higher among women aged 45–49 [AOR = 4.58, CI = 3.05–6.86]. Richer women had lower odds of unmet need for contraception compared with poorest women [AOR = 0.77, CI = 0.61–0.97].
Women who took their healthcare decisions alone had higher odds of unmet need for contraception. To increase contraceptive use in Mali, it is imperative to take women’s healthcare decisions into consideration to strengthen existing policies geared towards fertility control and improvement in maternal health to achieve Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 5. Sustainable Development Goal 3 seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages whilst Goal 5 aims at achieving gender equality and empower all women and girls.