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Use of contraceptives among adolescents in Kintampo, Ghana: a cross-sectional study

Authors Boamah EA, Asante KP, Mahama E, Manu G, Ayipah E, Adeniji E, Owusu-Agyei S

Received 24 October 2013

Accepted for publication 14 December 2013

Published 2 May 2014 Volume 2014:5 Pages 7—15


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Ellen Abrafi Boamah, Kwaku Poku Asante, Emmanuel Mahama, Grace Manu, Emmanuel Kwesi Ayipah, Elisha Adeniji, Seth Owusu-Agyei

Kintampo Health Research Center, Ghana Health Service, Kintampo, Ghana

Introduction: The use of contraceptives is essential in preventing unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and abortion-related complications that expose adolescents to health-related risks such as infertility and sometimes death.
Objective: To assess contraceptive use among adolescents as evidence to develop appropriate interventions for adolescent sexual health programs.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey using both quantitative and qualitative methods was conducted among 793 male and female adolescents (aged 15–19 years) in the Kintampo area of Ghana from October 2010–May 2011.
Results: Knowledge of at least one contraceptive method was high (88.9%) among adolescents of both sexes (males 92.1% and females 86.6%). Knowledge of male condoms was highest (84.0%), and it was the most common contraceptive method used (82.0%). The use of other methods such as pills (7.9%), injection (0.9%), and foam (0.3%), amongst others, was low. About 22.9% of adolescents used contraceptives consistently. Among adolescents, consistent contraceptive use was significantly associated with discussions of contraceptive use between partners (P<0.01). Adolescents who discussed contraceptive use before their first sexual encounter were more likely to use contraceptives consistently when compared to those who had never discussed contraceptive use (odds ratio =0.06; 95% confidence interval: 0.02–0.17; P<0.01). Among sexually active adolescents, 30.0% had experienced pregnancy, with 34.0% of pregnancies resulting in abortions. Pregnancy was high among adolescents who did not use contraceptives consistently, as compared to those who did (6.4% versus 93.6%; P<0.01). The most common source of contraceptives was the chemical seller's/pharmacy shop (62.1%).
Conclusion: Though a high number of adolescents knew at least one contraceptive method, this knowledge did not influence them to consistently use contraceptives. Only a small percentage of the sexually active adolescents used a contraceptive method consistently. It is, therefore, recommended that an intervention for improving consistent contraceptive use among adolescents be pursued. The creation of adolescent-friendly centers for reproductive health services is highly proposed.

Keywords: contraceptive use, sexually active, contraceptive knowledge, sexual health

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