Background: Adolescent girls continue to fall victim to unintended pregnancy and its consequences, with particular problems arising in low income countries. Awareness about methods of contraception is an important step towards gaining access and using suitable contraceptive methods. However, studies assessing the relationship between sexual and reproductive health communication and awareness of contraceptive methods among secondary school female students are lacking.
Methods. A cross sectional study was conducted among 807 female students in six secondary schools in Mekelle town, Ethiopia. Study participants were selected with a stratified cluster sampling technique. Data collection was carried out using a structured, self-administered questionnaire, and data entry was done using EPI Info Version 3.3.2 software. The data were then cleaned and analyzed using SPSS version 20. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regressions were used to determine factors associated with awareness of female students on methods of contraception.
Result: Of all the students, 127(15.8%) reported ever having had sex, of whom 109(85.8%) had ever used contraceptives. Twenty (16%) of the sexually active students reported having been pregnant, of whom 18(90%) terminated their pregnancies with induced abortion. Discussion on sexual and reproductive health matters with their parent/s and peer/s in the six months prior to the study was reported by 351(43.5%) and 493(61.1%) of the students respectively. 716(88%) students were aware of different methods of contraception. Discussing sexual and reproductive health issues with parents (AOR =2.56(95% CI: 1.45, 4.50)) and peers (AOR = 2.46(95% CI: 1.50, 4.03)) were found to be independent predictors for contraceptive awareness among students.
Conclusions: Discussion on sexual and reproductive health issues with family and peers has a positive effect on contraceptive awareness of students. Therefore, strategies to improve open parent-child communication, and appropriate peer-to-peer communication in schools on sexual and reproductive health should be established and strengthened.
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- Contraceptive methods
- Parent communication
- Peer communication
- School students
- Sexual and reproductive health