Knowledge and Practices of Secondary School Students towards Prevention of Teenage Pregnancies in Kabarole District, Western Uganda
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Background: Teenage pregnancy is a major concern in Uganda. Teenage pregnancy is high in Uganda rated at 25% and 35% in Kabarole district respectively. Objectives: To assess the level of knowledge and practices towards prevention of teenage pregnancies among secondary school students in Kabarole district, Western Uganda. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study and was conducted from 29th April to 1st may,2013. A total of 368 secondary school students aged 15 to 19 years from Kabarole district were randomly selected and interviewed using self administered questionnaires. Knowledge was categorized into two level, high and low. where those who scored >60%were highly knowledgeable and < 60% were low knowledgeable. Eight Focus group discussions were held with students and 4 key informant interviews were conducted with school senior women teachers. Data were captured using SPSS 12 and analyzed using STATA. Results: A total of 368 students, 181 (49.2%) females and 187(50.8%) males participated in the study. The most majority, 95.4% had low knowledge towards prevention of teenage pregnancy. Students in senior 1-4 had significantly less knowledge compared to students in senior 5-6 (OR: 0.25, 95% CI: 0.09-0.69). Females students had threefold higher knowledge compared to males (OR: 2.97, 95% CI: 1.01-8.77). Main contraceptive methods known were condoms, abstinence and morning pills. Main sources of contraceptive methods were school nurse, private clinics, friends and drugs shops. Common practices used in school to prevent pregnancy were abstinence, condoms, contraceptive pills, withdrawal method and masturbation. The main hindrances to practices of preventing teenage pregnancy were shyness, religion and contraceptives being expensive. Conclusion and Recommendation The findings indicate low level of knowledge towards prevention of teenage pregnancy with and female students being more knowledgeable than males. Students from urban areas are more knowledgeable than those from rural areas and Advance level students are more knowledgeable compared to those in Ordinary level. There is a need to educate adolescents about the prevention of pregnancies with emphasis on available methods and correct timing and usage of the contraceptive methods.