Intern at the Africa Health Research Institute in the Public Engagement Department Ms Ayanda Mkhize graduated with a Master’s degree in Population Studies following her research into contraceptive use by women in rural KwaZulu-Natal.
The study focused on 15 women aged between 25 and 35 in the rural area of Ntabamhlophe in Northern KZN.
‘I concentrated on women in this age group because most studies on sexual and reproductive health issues in rural areas focus on teenagers,’ said Mkhize, who investigated developing an understanding of older women’s experiences and perspectives about contraceptive use.
Some of her findings include: myths and misconceptions regarding the use of contraceptive are rife in rural areas, gender inequality in rural areas influences women to stay away from contraceptives, and women do have adequate knowledge of contraceptives but lack detail on their correct and consistent use.
Access to health facilities and contraceptives was found to be a problem in rural areas.
‘There should be mobile clinic units closer to homes as well contraceptive education that includes men. We need to influence policy makers to create sexual and reproductive health education and services that benefit women in rural areas,’ said Mkhize.
She thanked her family, friends and supervisor Professor Pranitha Maharaj for support during her studies.
Mkhize plans to pursue a PhD from next year.