Nigeria’s annual population growth and fertility rates are fueling the popular postulation that by 2050, the nation will rank after India and China in population size. Increasing population growth amid poor economic and health statistics in Nigeria point to family planning as one of the long-term effective solutions to this issue. After years of raising awareness and knowledge building, there still exists a huge gap between knowledge of contraceptives and the application of the knowledge in Nigerian society. This gap has initiated a myriad of behavior change communication campaigns on the use of contraceptives. This study goes beyond considering the influences of both spousal communication and mass media on family planning awareness and usage of contraceptives; it examines the response of each gender to family planning campaigns and contraceptive use in Osun and Ogun states, Nigeria. In spite of awareness raising, knowledge building, and persuasion for adoption, how does each gender respond to social marketing of contraceptives usage? A comparative descriptive survey was conducted among ninety men in Iwo, Osun State, and ninety-five women in General Hospital, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State. The purposive sampling method was adopted in selecting men and women with previous exposure to social marketing campaigns on family planning. The findings revealed that television and radio, social media, and interactions with doctors/nurses are prominent means through which family planning communication takes place. Through mass and social media, barriers and myths relating to family planning are being eradicated, and access to family planning knowledge and resources is increasing. The media has been able to successfully persuade and change negative attitudes toward contraceptive usage. Findings also showed that while men respondents were not using contraceptives, almost all the women respondents were. Some of the factors that could contribute to the varying responses to behavior change communication on the use of contraceptives between genders have been identified to be individual differences, as well as socio-cultural and religious barriers. The study calls for a new wave of social marketing on contraceptives usage, specifically targeted at transforming the positive attitudes of a proportionate number of men, to actual usage of contraceptives.

Note on the Author

Dr. Obasanjo Joseph Oyedele is a teacher and researcher with the Department of Mass Communication of the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria. I received my degrees from the Department of Communication and Language Arts, University of Ibadan, where I was also a Teaching Assistant for five years before I left for Bowen University Iwo, Osun State in 2017. As an applied communication researcher, my research interests in media and communication straddle health, environment, risks, climate change, and cultural representations.