Understanding Men's Involvement in Family Planning Care in the Philippines (2019-2020)


Globally, family planning is primarily female-centered, even though male preferences around family planning are important drivers for reproductive behavior and contraceptive use. In low- and middle-income countries, the presence of men in most family planning clinics is negligible, with significant social and cultural barriers to access and acceptance of services.

Men’s participation is crucial because it can increase success of family planning programs, increase women’s empowerment and outcomes in reproductive health, improve the likelihood that babies are born healthy and to prepared parents and increase integration of men into primary care services from an earlier age. Yet, the focus on the integration of men into family planning programs is still limited and can often be attributed to lack of information and inaccessibility of services.

Recently, however, there has been a positive shift in attitudes toward family planning across low- and middle-income countries in Asia. This presents an opportunity to develop innovative, evidence-based approaches to better integrate men by approaching care delivery from a family-focused perspective.

Project Description

This Bass Connections project will seek to understand men’s involvement in family planning in the Philippines with a focus on existing barriers and existing facilitators. The main objective is to build on data collected by two team members in the Philippines and leverage partnerships and infrastructure that will allow for a robust and comprehensive analysis of barriers and facilitators influencing effective integration of men into family planning care delivery.

The project will utilize the Ecological Model for Health Promotion as a theoretical framework to guide data collection and analysis. In this model, there are five levels that influence health behaviors: public policy, community, institutional, interpersonal processes and intrapersonal factors. The team will use a mixed-methods approach to collect data to support each of the five levels of the framework.

The team will address the following major questions:

  • What are national policies, initiatives and regulations that affect care offered to men in family planning settings?
  • What are the community and institutional influences on men seeking care within family planning settings?
  • What are the formal and informal social networks and support systems Filipino men in this region have, and what influence do those networks have in family planning involvement, decision-making and care?
  • What are the local knowledge, attitudes, behaviors and beliefs of Filipino men as they pertain to seeking care in family planningsettings?

Anticipated Outputs

Presentation of findings at annual family planning conference; literature review and database manuscripts for publication; recommendations for improvement of family planning support services for submission to Philippines Department of Health


Fall 2019 – Summer 2020

  • Fall 2019: Begin bimonthly team meetings with specific learning objectives in research modeling, data collection and cultural sensitivity; attend meeting with Research Triangle Institute (RTI) global scientists; attend one RTI-hosted seminar; begin development of research tools and instruments; finalize formal research proposal and submit to IRB
  • Spring 2020: Continue bimonthly team meetings; continue engagement with RTI global scientists; write and submit literature review manuscript about men’s involvement in family planning
  • Summer 2020 (Optional): Field research/data collection for 4 weeks (June/July); begin data transcription, clean-up and development of analysis plan



Image: Hauling the net ashore, Philippines, by Bernard Spragg NZ, public domain

Hauling the net ashore, Philippines.

Team Leaders

  • Sumedha Ariely, Duke Global Health Institute
  • Cristina Bisson, RTI International
  • Alexandra Cooper, Social Science Research Institute
  • Eleanor Stevenson, School of Nursing

/graduate Team Members

  • John Bollinger, Global Health - MS
  • Nicole Forlan, Bachelors of Science - Nursing, Women's Health - BSN DNP
  • Jae Jeong, MIDP 2 Year Masters
  • Alyssa Lantiere, Women's Health - MSN

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Isabella Caracta, Psychology (AB), Global Health (AB2)
  • Michelle Dantzler, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Sunrita Gupta
  • Hope Jackson, Biology (BS), Global Health (AB2)
  • Megan Rabe
  • Alex Raghunandan, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Vanessa Real Williams
  • Elise Sweezy, Political Science (AB)
  • Andrew Tsai, Biology (BS), Asian & Mid East Studies (AB2)

/zcommunity Team Members

  • RTI International
  • Easter Dasmarinas, Strengthening Local Governance for Health (HealthGov) Project, RTI International