Knowledge of emergency contraceptives among secondary school learners in the rural area of Moletji-Mashashane, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Background. Teenagers at the reproductive age face the dilemma of choosing the best birth control method. Knowledge of emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) associated with an intention to use other contraceptive methods has rarely been investigated. This study investigated the knowledge of emergency contraceptives among secondary school learners in the rural area of Moletji-Mashashane, Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Objective. To assess the knowledge of and barriers against emergency contraception among secondary school learners.
Methods. An anonymous questionnaire was used in the study. It included single and multiple-choice questions.
Results. A total of 469 learners aged 14 - 18 years completed the anonymous, self-administered questionnaire. The results showed that secondary school learners did not have good knowledge of emergency contraceptives; 47.5% reported that they had heard of emergency contraceptives, while 52.5% reported that they had never heard of emergency contraceptives. The majority of learners had misperceptions about the details and safety of ECPs. However, 48.4% reported that emergency contraceptives are effective in preventing pregnancy.
Conclusion. The awareness of ECPs was not high in this group. An improved multisectoral approach to education about emergency contraceptives, with greater participation by schools and the Department of Health, is advised. A systematic and long-term intervention among secondary school learners must be conducted to educate learners about emergency contraceptives.
P R Mamabolo, Research Administration and Development Oce, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
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Date published: 2017-12-22
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