Knowledge and attitudes of female Makerere University students towards induced abortion for unwanted pregnancy
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Induced abortion is a vital reproductive health problem world wide and also in Uganda. Fourty six million or twenty two percent(22%) of all pregnancies world-wide end in induced abortions each year(Hord, 2001). About 297,000 induced abortions are performed in uganda each year and nearly 85,000 women are treated for complications of abortion(Susheela et al 2005). The objectives were to ascertain the knowledge of female university students about induced abortion, to determine the students' attitude towards induced abortion, and to obtain students veiws on the legal status of induced abortion in uganda. The study was descriptive cross-sectional and quantitative in narture, it involved 230 respodents. Data was collected using pre-tested structured self-administered questionaire. Data collected was analysed using a computer SPSS 11.0 program and results presented using tables, pie-charts and texts. Results showed that, majority of the respondents(95.6%) were aware of different approaches to prevent unwanted pregnancy; some methods of prevention mentioned include abstinence, condoms, natural-method(48.7%) was induced abortion(27.0). However, natural method cannot be relied on alone to prevent pregnancy and induced abortion should be discouraged as it leads to health and psychological problems. Knowledge on induced abortion was high as 63% could correctly define induced abortion. Knowledge on complications/effect of induced abortion was high, 81.7% of respondents mentioned, excessive bleeding,infertility, infections, death and psychological torture. The majority of respondents had heard about the practice of induced abortion(77.0) and had obtained their information mainly from friends/peers. Home as a source of information was least stated, therefore parents shuold be encouraged to actively particiapte in warning girls about dangers of induced abortion and discourage practice. Abortion was reportedly done by doctors(74.8%), nurses(45.2%), self(38.7%), relative(29.1%), herbalist(29.6%) and witch doctors(13.5%). Private clinics and hospitals were the commonest mentioned, as places where abortion is carried out. Methods mentioned for inducing abortion included, drugs, surgical procedures, local herbs and using metals/sticks. there was an overall negative attitude towards induced abortion for unwanted pregnancy noted among the respondents(83%). However 27% of the respondents had a positive attitude towards induced abortion. This should be discouraged since induced abortion poses many risk including, health and psychological problems. Conclusions made were that respondents are aware of induced abortion and their knowledge was high though limited. The overall attitude towards induced abortion was negative although reasons given were mainly, personal, social, cultural, economical, legal and religious reasons other than health reasons. The study recommends, for health education of women and girls on option to prevent unwanted pregnancy, and dangers of induced abortion. Girls and women should be warned against the practice of induced abortion. strict laws against induced abortion should be reinforced and implimented.