Contraceptives: Adolescents’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices. A Case Study of Rural Mhondoro-Ngezi District, Zimbabwe
Adolescent reproductive health behaviour has become an emerging world concern as the age at menarche and sexual debut has plummeted globally. The primary objective of the paper is to understand the importance of reproductive health education to contraceptive use among adolescents in Mhondoro-Ngezi District. The paper also investigates knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices (KABP) pertaining to contraceptive use among adolescents. Factors underlying KABP are further explored. In addition, this paper investigates the availability, accessibility, acceptability and affordability of contraceptives to adolescents. These issues are assessed from the perspective of all duty bearers (mothers, fathers, healthcare providers, religious leaders and secondary school teachers). The paper is based on a cross-sectional study which was conducted in Mhondoro-Ngezi area. A total of 185 adolescents aged 15-19 years were sampled with a sex ratio of 67. The study triangulated both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. The results in this paper indicate that adolescents in Mhondoro-Ngezi engage in early sexual debut. Despite the fact that knowledge about modern contraceptives is universal (96%) among adolescents in Mhondoro-Ngezi, contraceptive use is very low, 21%. Limited contraceptive use among adolescents in the study area is a result of the interplay of demographic, policy, socio-cultural, religious and economic factors. The study has thus recommends that the government and other relevant stakeholders to formulate policies that promote reproductive education in order to foster the utilization of contraceptives by adolescents.
Keywords: Reproductive health problems, Contraceptives, Sex, Sexuality, Culture
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