• Knowledge Translation in Africa for 21(st) Century Integrative Biology: The "Know-Do Gap" in Family Planning with Contraceptive Use among Somali Women

      Ahmed, A A; Mohamed, A A; Guled, I A; Elamin, H M; Abou-Zeid, A H (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 2014-10-21)
      Abstract An emerging dimension of 21(st) century integrative biology is knowledge translation in global health. The maternal mortality rate in Somalia is amongst the highest in the world. We set out to study the "know-do" gap in family planning measures in Somalia, with a view to inform future interventions for knowledge integration between theory and practice. We interviewed 360 Somali females of reproductive age and compared university-educated females to women with less or no education, using structured interviews, with a validated questionnaire. The mean age of marriage was 18 years, with 4.5 pregnancies per marriage. The mean for the desired family size was 9.3 and 10.5 children for the university-educated group and the less-educated group, respectively. Importantly, nearly 90% of the university-educated group knew about family planning, compared to 45.6% of the less-educated group. All of the less-educated group indicated that they would never use contraceptives, as compared to 43.5% of the university-educated group. Prevalence of contraceptive use among ever-married women was 4.3%. In the less-educated group, 80.6% indicated that they would not recommend contraceptives to other women as compared to 66.0% of the university-educated group. There is a huge gap between knowledge and practice regarding family planning in Somalia. The attendant reasons for this gap, such as level of education, expressed personal religious beliefs and others, are examined here. For primary health care to gain traction in Africa, we need to address the existing "know-do" gaps that are endemic and adversely impacting on global health. This is the first independent research study examining the knowledge gaps for family planning in Somalia in the last 20 years, with a view to understanding knowledge integration in a global world. The results shall guide policy makers, donors, and implementers to develop a sound family planning policy and program to improve maternal and child health in 21(st) century primary healthcare.