Determinants of Teenage Pregnancy in Lusaka District
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A pregnant teenager who drops out of school has her child predisposed to live in abject poverty as she joins the poverty cycle. Society pays a heavy price for children who are likely to lack proper parenting, economic security and at high risk of behavioral problems and vices such as crime, substance abuse and prostitution. Additionally there are serious and sometimes irreversible effects on the mother such as the emotional, psychological and gynaecological complications. The burden of reproductive health problems falls largely on female adolescents. Maternity registry statistics specifically reveal significantly high numbers of teenagers passing through these centers. This was a major thrust of this study, which intended to determine the predisposing factors to teenage pregnancy in order to add to the body of knowledge on the subject of teenage pregnancy and make necessary recommendations based on evidence. This research was a case control study. The study population were female teenagers (13 to 19 years old) attending clinic at centers where antenatal services are available. The sample populations were two groups of female teenagers. One group constituted cases comprising pregnant teenagers attending antenatal clinic and another group constituted controls comprising female non-pregnant teenagers attending same clinic for any other ailments (with no reported history of pregnancy or abortion). Selection of sites was purposive of four clinics with the highest teenage delivery rates in Lusaka as well as University Teaching Hospital (UTH). Sample size was determined through an initial pilot study. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire through direct (one to one) interviews. Analysis of data resulted in testing the association of the various exposure factors i.e. socio-demographic, contraception, tradition and culture and illicit sex. The results on multivariate backward logistics regression indicated the following: teenagers below 16 years were 70% less likely to get pregnant compared to those above, singles were 60% less likely to be pregnant compared to those who are married, while participants with breadwinners who were not in gainful employment were two times more likely to get pregnant. Parental/guardian reprimand was shown to have a deterrent effect on teenage pregnancy. Lack of knowledge on female physiology or hormones was shown to predispose to teenage pregnancy by three times whereas lack of knowledge on condoms had similar effect by twofold. Shyness to access contraceptives by teenagers increased chances of pregnancy by fifty percent.