Knowledge and practice of emergency contraception among female undergraduates in the University of Lagos, Nigeria

  • OM Ebuehi Institute of Child Health and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria
  • EE Ekanem
  • OAT Ebuehi


Objectives: To assess the level of knowledge and practice of emergency contraception among female undergraduates in University of Lagos and to determine the factors that influence knowledge and practice of emergency contraception among female undergraduates.

Design: Cross-sectional descriptive study.

Setting: The University of Lagos, Lagos, South-West, Nigeria between August 2003 and March 2004.

Subjects: Four hundred and eighty randomly selected female undergraduate students.

Results: The findings revealed that 67.8% of the respondents reported knowing about emergency contraception. More than half (56.1%) were sexually active and of this group, 96.8% had ever practiced contraception with only 33.9% having ever practiced emergency contraception. However, only 37.8% and 36.3% of respondents who had reported knowing about emergency contraception knew the correct time frame for effective use, and correctly identified emergency contraceptives respectively. Among those who were aware of, and had used emergency contraception, 34.1% obtained their information from health care providers, while the larger majority obtained from friends. Knowledge and practice of emergency contraception was found to be directly related to age, level of study, medical education, marital status, sexual activity, previous history of use of contraceptives and previous history of induced abortion.

Conclusion: Education efforts that focus on the training of health care providers and young adults on emergency contraception with regards to available methods and correct timing of use would greatly improve women's access to and effective use of this method in Nigeria.

East African Medical Journal Vol. 83(3) 2006: 90-95

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eISSN: 0012-835X