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Unequal access and use of contraceptives among parenting adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa: a cross-sectional analysis of demographic and health surveys
Authors: Bright Opoku Ahinkorah, Matthew Tobiloba Obisesan, Abdul-Aziz Seidu, and Anthony Idowu Ajayi
Source: BMJ Open, Volume 11, Issue 9; DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-051583
Topic(s): Contraception
Unmet need
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: SEP 2021
Abstract: Objective: We examined the divergent patterns, prevalence and correlates of contraceptive use among parenting adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa using the Demographic and Health Survey datasets of 17 countries. Design: We included a weighted sample of 9488 parenting adolescent girls in our analysis. Current contraceptive use was defined as the use of any methods to delay or avoid getting pregnant at the survey time. We reported the prevalence of any contraceptive use for all countries and used multilevel binary logistic regression analysis to examine the individual and contextual factors associated with contraceptive use. Outcome measures: Contraceptive use. Results: We found an overall contraceptive prevalence of 27.12% (CI 27.23% to 28.03%) among parenting adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa, ranging from 70.0% (CI 61.76% to 77.16%) in South Africa to only 5.10% (CI 3.04% to 8.45%) in Chad. The prevalence of contraceptive use was lowest in West andCentral Africa, with most countries having less than 20% prevalence. Increasing age (adjusted OR (aOR)=1.46, 95% CI 1.28 to 1.65), being married (aOR=1.63, 95% CI 1.43 to 1.87), having a secondary or higher level of education (aOR=2.72, 95% CI 2.25 to 2.3.27), and media exposure (aOR=1.21, 95% CI 1.08 to 1.36), were associated with higher odds of contraceptive use in the pooled data but preference for a higher number of children (more than five children) (aOR=0.61, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.72) was related to lower likelihood of use. Significant heterogeneity was observed in the country-level disaggregated results. Conclusion: African countries differ widely when it comes to contraceptive use among parenting adolescent girls, with only three countries having a relatively high prevalence of use. The governments of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly those in West and Central Africa, should invest in expanding access to contraceptives for adolescent mothers to prevent repeat pregnancy and improve the overall well-being of parenting adolescent girls.