The effects of reproductive knowledge on behaviour among pregnant and nursing adolescents in Eldoret municipality
Murgor, Benson Kiptoo
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The main objective of this research was to investigate the circumstances surrounding sexuality among pregnant and nursing adolescents at first sex and before first pregnancy. The knowledge of reproductive health matters and their sources were also examined. These were done with the aim of making recommendations, which would affect adolescent sexuality in a positive way. The major hypotheses in this study were formulated to investigate if there was any significant difference in the knowledge and behaviour of the respondents by their socio-economic and demographic characteristics. A significant association was found to exist between the respondent’s socio-economic and demographic characteristics and their reproductive knowledge and behaviour. In this research, one hundred and seventy four respondents were interviewed using a pre-tested questionnaire. The respondents were those attending ante- or post-natal clinic in three health centres chosen at random in Eldoret municipality. The study found out that the respondents initiated sexual intercourse early and used contraception rarely. For instance, the median age at first sex was 14.5 years with some respondents initiating coitus when they were 8 years old. About 15.0 of the respondents used contraception at first sex while 37 percent used a method of contraception before first pregnancy. Peer influence was cited by 20.7 of the respondents as the main reason leading to sex. The venue of first sex was mainly the boyfriend's house or home. The circumstances surrounding initiation of sexuality and knowledge of reproductive matters among the respondents was found to be highly associated with the income status of their parents, their mothers' level of formal education and the level of education of the respondent. The main source of information on various topics of reproductive health was friends followed by teachers and personnel at health institutions respectively. About 10 per cent of the respondents had aborted at least once while only about 30.3 per cent were aware of the medical consequences of early childbearing. The researcher recommends that current population policies should be revised to allow the introduction of sex education in primary schools and provision of contraception to adolescents who need them. The researcher suggests also that detailed studies on various aspects of adolescent reproductive behaviour should be done at a micro-level in Kenya. This should be done to enable adolescent fertility management programmes formulate more efficient intervention measures to reduce adolescent sexuality and pregnancy in all regions of the country.