Emergency contraception knowledge amongst female high school leaners in Tswaing sub-district of North-West Province, South Africa
Emergency contraception (EC) is of public health importance for preventing unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions. Challenged by the high incidence of unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions observed among female high school learners who were attending the clinics in Tswaing Sub-district of North West Province (NWP) South Africa, this cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the knowledge regarding EC among 860 female high school learners. Simple random sampling was employed to select learners aged between 16 to 24 years in grades 11 and 12 from 5 high schools in the Tswaing Sub-district of the NWP. After receiving parental consent and assent the participants completed an anonymous, self-administrated and pretested questionnaire. Data were analyzed by using STATA 10. The response rate was 95.6% of which12.9% had previously used EC, 52.4% had heard about EC and 0.8% had limited knowledge of EC. It is concluded that the learners generally had poor knowledge towards EC. It is recommended that information on EC should be included in the life orientation programme provided in high schools as poor EC knowledge puts the adolescents at risk of unintended pregnancies which could lead to septic abortions and maternal mortality.
Keywords: EC, knowledge, female high school learners.