Faith-based provision of sexual and reproductive healthcare in Malawi

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Faith-based organisations constitute the second largest healthcare providers in Sub-Saharan Africa but their religious values might be in conflict with providing some sexual and reproductive health services. We undertake regression analysis on data detailing client-provider interactions from a facility census in Malawi and examine whether religious ownership of facilities is associated with the degree of adherence to family planning guidelines. We find that faith-based organisations offer fewer services related to the investigation and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and the promotion of condom use. The estimates are robust to several sensitivity checks on the impact of client selection. Given the prevalence of faith-based facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa, our results suggest that populations across the region may be at risk from inadequate sexual and reproductive healthcare provision which could exacerbate the incidence of STIs, such as HIV/AIDS, and unplanned pregnancies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113997
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Early online date7 May 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.


  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Female
  • HIV Infections/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Malawi
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases/epidemiology

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