Emergency contraceptive awareness among women with abortions at University Teaching Hospital Lusaka

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Nkole, Chavuma , C.
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BACKGROUD:Zambia has a high maternal mortality ratio of 591/100 000 live births with unsafe abortions being one of the major causes. Adolescents and young women are particularly vulnerable to unsafe induced abortion with its complications. It has been estimated that widespread use of emergency contraception pills (ECPs) could play a critical role in reducing the need for abortion and in lowering the number of unwanted pregnancies and consequent need for abortion. Although it is included in the family planning method mix, there is limited awareness of this method among women. OBJECTIVE: To determine knowledge, practice and attitudes towards Emergency Contraception (EC) among women with abortion at UTH, Lusaka.METHODS: A cross-sectional descriptive study design and an interview schedule were administered to 200 women admitted to UTH with abortion aged between 18-49 years old. A pilot study was done at UTH before the main study which resulted in a few minor changes. The actual study was conducted in Ward COS at University Teaching Hospital (UTH). Systematic random sampling was used to select the 200 participants. The women were approached individually on the ward and interviewed in privacy if they consented. Data collected was checked for consistency in the answers given and recorded on each day. Data were entered and analyzed on Epi Info V6.4. Data analyzed has been presented in form of frequency tables, pie charts, bar graphs and cross tabulations which were used to determine special relationships between variables. RESULTS: The median age of participants was 24 years. A large percentage of respondents (92.5%) did not know about emergency contraception (EC) and only very few respondents (7.5%) had heard about emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs). The most common source of information about emergency contraception (EC) was from friends (80%) and only 20% got from health care providers. The most striking factor is that knowledge of ECPs is strongly associated with level of education with Q, 0.01 (OR = 9.5; 95% CI: 3.06 - 29.87). Respondents who had college education were twice more likely to have heard of EC as compared to 33.3% with low education level. Of the respondents who were aware of EC majority (60%) with P 0.01 (OR = 0.00; 95% CI: 0.00 - 0.02) had high EC knowledge as compared to 40% who had medium and low EC knowledge. Factors such as age, place of residence and marital status were not significantly associated with EC awareness.The contraceptive ever use rate was 78.5% and among the users the most common methods were the oral pill (65%) and condoms (38.5%). Among the few who knew about EC no one had ever used it and only 6.7% could correctly mention the time interval within which ECPs can work. After the method was explained 65% of the respondents indicated that they would use EC if needed. Fertility awareness is low among women with 76% not knowing when in the menstrual cycle they were likely to become pregnant.CONCLUSION: Knowledge about Emergency contraception (EC) is very low among the women admitted with abortions at UTH, Lusaka. There is need to improve women's education about emergency contraception in Lusaka.
Contraception Awareness , Birth control---Awareness