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Knowledge, attitude and practice of emergency contraceptives among female college students in Arba Minch Town, Southern Ethiopia

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Background: Young and unmarried women constitute a high risk group for unplanned pregnancies and unsafe abortions. It has been estimated that widespread use of emergency contraception (EC) may significantly reduce abortion-related morbidity and mortality. Objective: To assess knowledge, attitude and practice of emergency contraceptives among female college students in Arba Minch town. Method: A cross-sectional institution-based study was conducted from March 1st to 5th 2010 among 407 female students that were selected by using a stratified sampling technique. Result: One hundred seventy three (42.5%) of the respondents said that they heard about emergency contraceptive. Of those who mentioned pills as an emergency contraceptive method, 26.4% correctly identified 72 hours as the time limit for use of the method. The summary index for knowledge disclosed that 21.9% had good knowledge about EC. Though 50% of students had positive attitude towards EC, 11 (2.7%) of the total students had used emergency contraception. EC use was significantly higher among students who were married and among students who have good knowledge on EC, (P<0.027, P< 0.01 respectively). Conclusion: The study showed that knowledge of emergency contraception among female students is low and the method is still underused. Therefore, there is a need to expand IEC about RH and regular methods in general and EC in particular at college level. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2011;25(3):176-183]

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