Attitudes, understanding and perceptions of teenagers about the use of contraceptives (Buffalo City Municipality - Eastern Cape)

Mnyanda, Phumla (2013-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Contraception is defined as the prevention of pregnancy through temporary or permanent means and it is a fundamental element of family planning (Bafana 2010). A contraceptive helps and protects women from unwanted pregnancies. While contraceptives are widely and easily available the statistics for teenage pregnancy remains high and the use of contraceptives is very low in South Africa. The South African Demographic and Health Survey (SADHS) statistics show that there has been an increase in the number of teenage pregnancy when comparing the statistics of the two periods 1998 and 2008. The numbers have almost doubled to 16% of the learner population being pregnant in some provinces. The Eastern Cape (EC) Province is no exception. Aims and objectives of this study were to understand if teenagers today know enough about the use of contraceptives and about social and medical problems associated with teen pregnancy? If yes, why are they not using contraceptives and how can we change that to prevent teenage pregnancy and unwanted babies. This study made use of a triangulation methodology whereby both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used. The study was two-pronged with the target group being teenagers at school and pregnant teenagers attending ante-natal clinics (age 13-19yrs). About 120 teenagers were recruited for the study. In-depth interviews were conducted through use of questionnairesd amongst the school youth which involved both boys and girls. In ANC interviews and focus groups were conducted when the girls were in their second to fifth month of pregnancy. Results indicated that understanding of contraceptives and reproductive health amongst teenagers was poor, condoms were the contraceptive method most known by teenagers and their understanding of the menstrual cycle was inaccurate . Most teenagers who knew about contraceptives perceived them as bad saying they make you wet. They do perceiveepregnancy as a negative event with consequences such as loss of a boyfriend, loss of friends, blame from friends and family members, feeling guilty, difficulty and school dropout, complications during pregnancy or delivery and risk of HIV. They regarded abortion as the better pregnancy preventative method and were poorly informed about secondary infertility if abortion is done. The study identified a number of factors that may influence the use and acceptance of contraceptives by teenagers and that will help in decreasing teenage pregnancy rate. These factors may influence” teenagers‟ behavioural intentions” through altering their perceptions of the personal and social consequences of falling pregnant and their self-efficacy in relation to sexual behaviour. Strategies to promote use of contraceptives should focus on making information on contraception more accessible and offering programmers that empower teenage girls and boys in the area of sexuality. This should also focus on building social capital for teenagers in communities, targeting trans-generational sexual norms, applying the law on underage drinking, empowering of parents or parent mentorship programs about sexuality. Multi-faceted and intersect oral approaches are required and it is likely that the strategies put in place to promote use of contraceptives by teenagers will also impact on reducing HIV transmission especially mother to child transmission, illegal and septic abortions and other sexually transmitted infections.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van die studie was die bepaling van die kennisvlakke teenoor MIV/Vigs asook die persepsies en houding teenoor voorkoming van die pandemie by „n steekproef van jong seuns en dogters binne die Oos-Kaap. Inligting is deur middel van „n vraelys sowel as deur middel van verskeie fokusgroepe ingesamel. Vraelyste is professioneel in isXhosa vertaal en die meeste fokusgroepe is ook in isiXhosa gehou. Klem is veral geplaas oor die kennis van bestaande voorbehoudmiddels en die mate waartoe die jongmense dit gebruik ten einde die verspreiding van die pandemie te beperk. Belangrike inligting oor die kennisvlakke van kinder op hoërskool word aangebied en in konteks geplaas. Oor die algemeen is bevind dat kennisvlakke baie swak is en dat die kinders se persepsie oor die pandemie beperk is en dat die houding daarteen dikwels onverskillig is. Daar word ook gevind dat daar nog verskeie ou mites bestaan wat deur die jongmense ondersteun en toegepas word. Voorstelle ter verbetering van die situasie binne die Buffalo City Municipality in die Oos-Kaap word aan die hand gedoen en gemotiveer.

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