Correlates of Teenage pregnancy in Zambia

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Chirwa, Thomas
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Background:Globally, about 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 years and two million girls under the age of 15 give birth every year. In Zambia, 3 in 10 young women aged 15 to 19 years have either given birth or carrying a pregnancy. This study was aimed at identifying determinants that may be associated with teenage pregnancies in Zambia. Methodology:This was a cross- sectional study that used secondary data from the Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) of 2007. Inclusion criteria for this study included female teenagers aged 15- 19. All records for female teenagers aged 15 to 19 who participated in the ZDHS were eligible and the question “have you ever been pregnant?” defined the outcome measure. Logistic regression was used to explore the relationship between independent variables and dependent variable. Results:Overall (n=1,598), most teenagers were from urban than rural (51% vs. 41%, P<0.001). There is a differential risk associated with teenage pregnancies, showing protective effect of education with those with primary level (AOR 0.47 95% CI (0.28- 0.77) and secondary level, AOR 0.25 95% CI (0.15- 0.41) than those who never went to school. The likelihood of teenagers becoming pregnant was differentially heavier in rural than urban areas AOR 1.95 95% CI (1.57- 243). Teenagers that were divorced had a higher probability of being pregnant AOR 61.70 95% (7.98- 477.01) than those that were never married. The teenagers that are working have a higher risk AOR 2.42 95% CI (1.88- 3.11) as compared to those that are not working. Teenagers who used contraceptives had higher chances of becoming pregnant AOR 13 95% CI (6.59- 25.68) as compared to those who never used contraceptives.Conclusion:This study has identified a number of factors that contribute to teenage pregnancies in the general population of Zambia. These factors range from low education levels, employment, low economic status, residing in rural areas, marriage, living together, divorce, sexually activeness to contraception use. To this end, unless something is done by all stakeholders in addressing the risk factors of teenage pregnancies that have been identified in this study, teenage pregnancies may continue to be on the increase in Zambia.Recommendations:Teenagers must be encouraged to be in school since education has a protective effect on teenage pregnancies. More resources need to be allocated in the education sector; All teenagers must be discouraged from being involved in employment. This is because employment puts teenagers at risk of becoming pregnant;Teenagers that are sexually active need to be taught on how to correctly use contraceptives; and all parents and guardian needs to be discouraged from marrying off teenagers. Thus, the government must come up with stiff punishment for those people marrying off teenagers.
Teenage pregnancy-Zambia , Teenage sexual behaviour