Secondary school girls’ knowledge, attitudes and sexual behaviour regarding teenage pregnancy, emergency contraception and sexuality in Thulamela municipality, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Contraceptives are freely available for all women in South Africa (SA). Nevertheless, the numbers of teenage pregnancies continue to increase. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are major public health concern. The study explored secondary school girls’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviour regarding emergency contraception, teenage pregnancy and sexuality among secondary school girls in order to suggest possible interventions. A self-report questionnaire was used to collect data from 273 secondary school girls. The questionnaire addressed knowledge and attitude regarding emergency contraception, sexual practices, and teenage pregnancy. The results indicated that the respondents were aware of different contraceptive methods that can prevent pregnancy, but they did not have knowledge of emergency contraceptives. Pressure from male partners, fear of parental reaction to contraceptive use, reluctance to use contraceptives, poor contraceptive education and counseling were seen as the main causes of ineffective contraceptive use and non-utilisation. Factors influencing teenage sexuality and pregnancy were socio-economic factors, substance abuse and peer pressure, and falling pregnant was viewed negatively in relation to its deleterious consequences. It is recommended that the knowledge and attitudes of the adolescent girls should be improved through sex education, as it has a direct effect on contraceptive use and prevention of unwanted pregnancies.
Keywords: Secondary school girls, emergency contraception, knowledge, attitudes, sexuality and teenage pregnancy.