Family planning vs. political suffrage: the struggle for minority tribal constituency and voting rights as a political barrier to family planning access in rural Ghana

John K. Awoonor-Williams, Volta Regional Health Administration
Maya N. Vaughan-Smith, Nkwanta Health Development Centre, Ghana Health Service
Ellie Feinglass, Population Council
Frank Nyonator, Ghana Health Service

Recent field research in the rural district of Nkwanta in Ghana has indicated the presence of a previously undiscussed political barrier to family planning acceptance. Historically, the minority Kokomba tribe of the Northern and Volta Regions in Ghana has not held a representative seat in either the regional or national tribal councils and has been subject to the majority-rule voting power of neighboring tribes. Focus group discussions and interviews with Kokomba leaders have revealed the belief that by enlarging their tribal population the Kokomba will have a larger constituency and increase their voting power in national elections. This paper discusses the perceived role that both administrative and tribal politics can play in the lineage and clan acceptance of family planning utilization among females in the Kokomba tribe and offers recommendations for both political leaders and health workers for surmounting the political barrier to family planning use among minority tribal constituencies.

Presented in Poster Session 3