Unintended pregnancy and induced abortion in a town with accessible family planning services: The case of Harar in eastern Ethiopia
Introduction: It is a universally accepted fact that unintended pregnancy and births could have negative consequences for women, children, families and societies at large.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Harrar town in southeast Ethiopia where family planning services are relatively easily accessible. The study was carried out in nine kebeles (smallest administrative units), selected from three woredas (districts). A multistage sampling technique was used to select females in the reproductive age group 15-49 years for interview. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data.
Results: A total of 983 females aged 15-49 years were interviewed out of whom, 225 (33.3%) sexually active women reported that their most recent pregnancies were unintended. The prevalence of unintended childbirth among sexually active women constituted about 14.3% of the total while induced abortion was found to be 14.4 %. In multivariate analysis, teenagers (OR 4.2 95% CI 1.4,10, 5), those married at the age of less than 20 years (OR 2.1 95%CI 1.9, 4.7), and currently unmarried (OR 1.7 95% CI 1.2, 2.5) had a higher chance of experiencing unwanted pregnancy. Literate women were found to have a significantly higher chance of having induced abortion (OR 2.8, 95% CI 1.4, 6.4).
Conclusions: Unintended pregnancy was found to be a major reproductive health problem in the study area showing the high unmet need for family planning and thus deserves priority attention. Expanding access to family planning without regard for the provision of effective IEC, counseling and quality care may not have the expected benefits in this context.
The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development Vol. 20 (2) 2006: 79-83