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A Reproductive Health Approach to Family Planning: Toward Strategic Communication for Development in Kenya
by Nancy Wairimu Muturi

This dissertation explains the discrepancy between awareness and change in reproductive health behavior and practices in Murang'a district, Kenya, from a communications perspective. Most people are however denied the right to have a satisfying and safe sex life, and the capability and freedom to decide if, when and how often to reproduce, due to social-cultural and economic factors that impede their reproductive health decisions causing them to face unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, and sexual and domestic violence. The dissertation explores how Grunig's Model of Excellence in Communication could be applied to effective health communication in developing nations. Grunig's model is based on strategic communication and emphasizes two-way symmetrical dialogue, understanding, and relationship building between programs and their audiences. Data for this study were gathered qualitatively using focus group discussions and in-depth interviews among rural men and women of reproductive age in an attempt to understand their knowledge, attitudes, values, believes, practices and related factors that affect their reproductive health decisions. Findings indicate that community norms and other social-cultural and economic factors prescribe how much autonomy individuals have in making reproductive health decisions. A key finding is that men are a decisive factor in women's reproductive health.

Publication Type: Ph.D Thesis: 306 pages
Publisher: University of Iowa (2002)
Location: Iowa City, United States
Language: English

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