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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 296-299

Emergency contraceptive knowledge and practice among unmarried women in Enugu, southeast Nigeria

Department Of Obstetrics And Gynaecology, Federal Medical Centre Abakaliki, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
S N Obi
Department Of Obstetrics And Gynaecology, Federal Medical Centre Abakaliki, Nigeria

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 19320397

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BACKGROUND: With a high incidence of unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortion especially among unmarried women in developing countries, there is need to promote emergency contraception (EC). OBJECTIVE: To assess the unmarried women's knowledge, attitude and practice of EC. METHODS: A random sample of a cross-section of 594 unmarried women in Enugu, southeast Nigeria, was surveyed with questionnaire between January and April 2004. RESULTS: Of the 1,160 unmarried women interviewed initially, 51% had heard of EC. One hundred (16.9%) knew the correct meaning of EC and these were mainly those with higher educational qualification, previous unwanted pregnancy, or had used modern contraception (p<0.05). Other respondents mentioned vaginal douching, application of traditional remedies to the vagina as effective emergency contraceptives. Although sixty percent (n=354) of respondents had used regular modern contraception, only 20% (n=119) had ever used EC. Few respondents knew correctly how EC function and the recommended timeframe for use. The two most common sources of information about EC were mass media (49.2%) and friends (28.8%). Seventy three percent (n=87) of emergency contraceptive users had some difficulties obtaining EC due to non-availability (n=42), attitude of health service providers to unmarried women demanding contraception (n=28) and cost (n=17). The attitude of the health service providers may have accounted for the dearth of information on EC even among users. Sixty-seven percent of respondents favored the use of EC by unmarried women. Opposition to the use of EC by unmarried women is because ofbeliefthat it has some health effect (n=72), induces abortion (n=80) and for religious reasons (n=42). CONCLUSION: Provision of appropriate information and access to EC, better service providers' attitude towards unmarried women is advocated.

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