Determinants of emergency contraception use among young women: A case study of Lusaka District, Zambia
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The study investigated the determinants of emergency contraception use among young women (15-24 years old) as a preventive measure of unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions. The research employed a quantitative method were a descriptive cross sectional study design was used. The study was conducted in Lusaka District among randomly selected 392 young women aged 15 to 24. A pre-tested structured self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Collected data was entered in Microsoft excel spread-sheet, and the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) was used for statistical analysis. Findings indicated that the awareness of EC was low, only 20 percent (n-80) were able to mention Emergency contraceptive pill, commonly known as „morning after pills‟. Of those who mentioned ECP, about 24 percent knew the recommended time- frame for using the method and 36 percent mentioned at least one symptom of side effects of EC. The common sources of information about EC reported were friends (60 percent), and the media (43.8 percent). Generally, attitude towards the use of EC was positive as 58.2 percent of the respondents had intentions to use EC in future and nearly half (48.5 percent) were for the idea that EC needed to be widely accepted and promoted among the youths. While for others, they had no intention to use or promote the use because of the presumed side effects such as infertility and it might encourage unprotected sexual intercourse and immorality, which would lead to the spread of sexually transmitted infections. However, only 4.3 percent (n-17) of the young women had used ECP at the time of the study. Lack of knowledge about EC was pointed out as the main reasons for not using EC. Awareness of EC and side effects were significant determinants of the use of EC at p<0.05. In conclusion, the study indicated that information about EC was generally low, mainly due to lack of awareness activities, especially from health workers, although young women are eager to learn more about it. It also showed that a number of young women who had heard about the EC method did not have adequate information, mainly because the main sources of information about the method were friends. There is need to increase knowledge about EC, and avail youth-friendly reproductive health services to uphold preventive behaviour. There is need for the health care providers, scientific agencies, women organization, the media industry, and the other concerned institutions to play an active role in disseminating accurate information about EC. The media industry should be effectively used to provide correct information about emergency contraception through public debates and advertising campaigns so that many can learn about EC, as it is the key to knowing more about other contraceptives. Advance provision and promotion of the proven emergency contraceptive methods would likely increase the use.