Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 November 2000
This paper analyses mass media exposure and its effect on family planning in Bangladesh using data from the Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 1993–94. The findings indicate that radio and television are two important mass media for disseminating family planning information in Bangladesh. However, access to them and exposure to family planning through them are still limited. Slightly more than 40% (42·1%) of respondents reported that they had heard family planning messages via radio, while 17·2% said television, 8·4% said poster and 5·4% said billboard. Respondent’s place of residence, education, economic status, geographical region and number of living children appeared to be the most important variable determining mass media exposure to family planning. Multivariate analysis shows that both radio and TV exposure to family planning messages and ownership of a radio and TV have a significant effect on current use of family planning methods. These factors remain significant determinants of contraceptive use, even after controlling socioeconomic and demographic factors. The study reveals that both socioeconomic development policies and family planning programmes with a special emphasis on mass media, especially radio, may have a significant effect on contraceptive use in Bangladesh. The principal policy challenge is to design communications strategies that will reach the less privileged, rural and illiterate people who are by far the majority in Bangladesh.
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