Choices and constraints in reproductive health decision making among Malawian women


Dr. Alison Norris, College of Public Health, Epidemiology
Rank at time of award: Assistant Professor
Dr. Abigail Norris-Turner,  College of Public Health, Epidemiology
College of Medicine, Infectious Diseases
Rank at time of award: Assistant Professor


We seek to study the health and well-being of women of reproductive age in Malawi by initiating a transdisciplinary collaboration between faculty at Ohio State and research partners in sub-Saharan Africa. With this innovative collaboration, we will collect pilot data which will, in turn, provide the foundation for a future large longitudinal cohort study in Malawi. This pilot project aims to assess women’s experiences, choices, and constraints in two realms: 1) fertility, family planning, pregnancy, and childbirth; and 2) HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment. The goals of this project are directly relevant to population science research by investigating decision-making and other behavioral aspects related to reproduction, fertility, contraception, and HIV/STI prevention. This research brings together scientists from OSU’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Medicine, and Public Health, as well as from Baylor College of Medicine and Malawi College of Medicine, who share a common interest in the health and well-being of reproductive age women, from three (often separate) perspectives: fertility and family planning, infectious diseases, and safe motherhood.

Publications resulting from this seed grant

2019. Huber-Krum S, Garver S, Gipson J, Chapotera G, Norris AH. Contraceptive methods and features: What are women’s preferences in rural Malawi? African Journal of Reproductive Health. (accepted)

2019. Harrington BJ, Turner AN, Chemey E, Esber A, Kwiek JJ, Norris AH. Who has yet to test? A risk score for predicting never having tested for HIV among women and men in rural Malawi. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2019;46(6):416-421. PMID: 31095104 / PMCID: PMC6589335 

2019. Norris AH, Rao N, Huber-Krum S, Garver S, Chemey E, Turner AN. Scarcity mindset in reproductive health decision making: A qualitative study from rural Malawi. Culture, Health & Sexuality. DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2018.1562092. PMID: 30762482 

2018. Rao N, Esber A, Turner AN, Mowpia G, Banda J, Norris AH. Infertility and self-rated health among Malawian women. Women and Health. 2017; 14:1-13. PMID: 29240537

2018. Esber A, Norris AH, Jumbe E, Kandodo J, Nampandeni P, Reese PC, Turner AN.  Feasibility, validity and acceptability of self-collected samples for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing in rural Malawi. Malawi Medical Journal.; 30(2).  PMCID: PMC6307066

2017. Rao N*, Turner A, Harrington B, Nampandeni P, BandaV, Norris A. Correlations between intimate partner violence and spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, and neonatal death in rural Malawi. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Jul; 138(1): 74–78. PMCID: PMC5987526

2017. Huber S, Esber A, Garver S, Banda V, Norris A. The Relationship Between Ambivalent and Indifferent Pregnancy Desires and Contraceptive Use Among Malawian Women. International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health (1). PMID: 28930624  

2016. Rao N*, Esber A, Turner A,, Chilewani J, Banda, V, Norris A. The impact of joint partner decision making on obstetric choices and obstetric outcomes among Malawian women. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics (accepted April 2016) PMCID:PMC5881379
2016. Esber A*, Turner A, Gladson M, Norris A. Intravaginal practices among a cohort of women in rural Malawi. Sexual Health. April 2016. PMCID:PMC5117649