Choice of contraceptives among female students in hostels around Makerere University.
Use of contraceptives among female university students has been widely studied in many countries but little on choice, pattern and constraints on use of contraceptives particularly among female students residing in hostels around Makerere University. This current study was conducted to assess how young female students chose the types of contraceptives they used. The study was conducted among female students who resided in hostels around Makerere University. Simple random sampling and systematic sampling were used to sample ten hostels and 236 female students respectively. Structured questionnaires and interview guides were used to collect data from female students and key informants respectively. Quantitative data was entered and analysed using SPSS version 17. Qualitative data was analysed by thematic content analysis. Findings revealed that 87% of the students were aged 20-24 years and only 4% were 25 years and above; 35% were Catholics, 27% were Protestants and muslims were 17%; 99% were on degree programmes. Over 63 % of the students were in relationships with 33.3% and 31.2% having been in these relationships for 13-24 months and 25 months or more respectively. Choice of contraceptives by female university students was mainly influenced by the ease to use (38%), side effects (27%), cost (25%), and availability (24%). Male condoms (89%), oral pills (77%), and injections (64%) were the most used contraceptives and contraceptive sponges were least used. The commonest challenges facing use of contraceptives among female students were side effects (87%), religious restraints (33%), unavailability of certain contraceptive methods, opposition of male partners (30%), forgetting to use contraceptives (27%) and lack of knowledge on use of contraceptives (23%). In conclusion, choice to use a particular contraceptive depended on ease to use, side effects, cost or its availability and based on these factors male condoms, pills and injection mostly used. This is line with rational choice theory. Challenges like side effects, religious restraints, unavailability of certain contraceptive methods, and opposition from male partners face use of contraceptives. Consequently, the following were recommended: intensifying campaigns on increasing knowledge on various contraceptives and their various sources; encouraging students to be liberal and pragmatic as regards contemplating issues on reproductive health and sexual rights and restraining from influence of religious dogmas; availing condoms in hostels and involving males in campaigns on contraceptive use.