Journal of Environmental and Public Health

Journal of Environmental and Public Health / 2020 / Article

Research Article | Open Access

Volume 2020 |Article ID 2515292 | https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/2515292

Biruk Beletew Abate, Kalkidan Habtamu Gelaw, Hayelom Fentaw, Mekonen Ashagire, Tadesse Mekash, "Knowledge Level and Associated Factors of Reproductive Health Issues among Secondary School Students in Woldia Town, Amhara, Ethiopia, 2019: A Cross-Sectional Study", Journal of Environmental and Public Health, vol. 2020, Article ID 2515292, 9 pages, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/2515292

Knowledge Level and Associated Factors of Reproductive Health Issues among Secondary School Students in Woldia Town, Amhara, Ethiopia, 2019: A Cross-Sectional Study

Academic Editor: Animesh Jain
Received31 Mar 2020
Revised25 Sep 2020
Accepted13 Oct 2020
Published22 Oct 2020

Abstract

Background. Reproductive health (RH) is defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters related to the reproductive system and to its functions and process. Local evidence about adolescents’ reproductive health knowledge level and associated factors are relevant to design age-appropriate interventions strategies. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the knowledge level on reproductive health issues among secondary school students in Woldia town. Objective. The main aim of this study was to assess the knowledge level and associated factors among adolescents in Woldia secondary schools, Amhara, Ethiopia, 2019. Methods. Institution-based descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted on 420 secondary school students in Woldia town from January to June 2019. Multistage sampling technique was employed. A self-administered, structured, and adapted questionnaire was used to collect the data. The data was entered by using EpiData version 4.2 and exported to SPSS version 24.0 for analysis. The samples were distributed proportionally based on probability proportional to size (PPS) allocation technique. Participants in each school have been selected by using systematic sampling technique after calculating sample interval (K) for each school. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regressions were carried out to assess the association between dependent and independent variables. Result. The prevalence of good knowledge was 204 (48.6%). Residence, educational level, handling of RHS providers, ever gone RHS institution and missed RHS service, had RHS in school, and stigma to utilize RHS were found to be significantly associated with the level of knowledge of respondents on reproductive health issues. Conclusion and Recommendations. The knowledge of respondents on reproductive health issues in the study area was found to be low. Hence, it is better to improve access to information to the secondary school students on RHS through trained health workers and accessible RHS.

1. Background

Reproductive health (RH) is defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters related to the reproductive system and to its functions and process. An adolescent is defined as a person aged between 10 and 19 years of age [1]. They account for 22% of the total population of Ethiopia [2].

Reproductive health is a universal concern, but is a special importance for women particularly during reproductive years [3]. It addresses the human sexuality and reproductive processes at all stages of life and implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying, and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. Youths and adolescents are characterized by unique physical, psychological, social, and emotional changes that put their life at high risk [2].

The term Youth Friendly Reproductive Health Service (YFRHS) refers to those services that are accessible, acceptable, and appropriate for the youth such as counseling, family planning, Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT), and treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) [4]. The services are provided in line with the minimum health package and aims to increase acceptability and use of health services by young people [5]. Youth friendly services emphasize sexual and reproductive health counseling, contraceptive counseling and provision (including emergency contraception), STI prevention, HIV counseling and testing, treatment and care, prenatal and postpartum care, sexual abuse counseling, relationship counseling, and safe abortion and abortion-related services [6].

Currently, there is a low level of access to high-quality RH information and services, especially for adolescents [7]. In the past few years, the issues of RH have been increasingly perceived as a social problem; they have been emerging as a topic of increasing concern in both developed and developing countries [8]. Adolescents are not quite capable of understanding complex concepts. This makes them vulnerable to sexual exploitation and high-risk sexual behaviors and reproductive health problems [9].

Globally, 45 percent of all new HIV infections worldwide are occurring among young people aged 15 to 24 years; 500,000 young people are infected with an STI per day. Approximately 80 million women have unwanted pregnancies every year [10, 11]. Adolescent girls are considerably more likely to be infected than adolescent boys [12]. Many adolescents are less informed, less experienced, and less comfortable accessing health services for RH than do adults [13]. Moreover, there are unsafe abortions by young women aged 15–24, 45 percent, their fertility rate is high (116 percent), and the level of comprehensive knowledge of AIDS is 48 percent for young women aged 15–24 and 43 for young men aged 15–24 [4]. Young people in high schools and above are vulnerable and at risk to HIV infection due to various reasons (such as unprotected casual sex relationships and multiple sexual partners, lack of comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, lack of access to HIV services, sexual experimentation, early sexual debut and peer pressure, and other related factors) [14].

In Africa, 430,000 young people are infected with HIV per year; 2.6 million young people are living with HIV; and teenage pregnancy rates still remain high, and maternal mortality is among the leading causes of death for adolescent girls in this region [15].

The intergenerational gap between the generations of the youth and the adult is constantly being reinforced by cultural globalization. The comprehensive knowledge of HIV and other reproductive health (RH) problems is increasing; many young people do not have the information or means to protect themselves from these problems [16]. There are also problems related to SRH services which include accessibility, availability, and quality. Moreover, secondary school students indicated that health providers in most of the HEIs are not trained to respond to the needs of young persons [17]. The shortage of youth friendly health services and counseling poses significant challenges to address SRH issues, including HIV prevention.

In Ethiopia, educational institution-based RH services are often limited by restrictive policies, personnel shortages, lack of private areas for counseling, and poor links to resources outside the institutions. The problems of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among youths indicating more efforts are needed toward sexual and reproductive health risk reduction interventions particularly in secondary school student. Hence, the main aim of the study was to assess the knowledge secondary school students on reproductive health issues in Woldia town.

2. Methods

2.1. Study Area and Period

This study was conducted in Woldia town from January to June 2019. Woldia town is located in the northeast Ethiopia Amhara regional state under the administration of North Wollo Zone, which is located at about 521 km from Addis Ababa in the west direction. This town has nine kebeles and four secondary schools. The study was conducted in all secondary schools, namely, Woldia secondary school, Millennium secondary school, Selam secondary school, and Gubo secondary school.

2.2. Study Design

The study design was institution-based descriptive cross-sectional study.

2.3. Source of Population

The source of population included all secondary school students in Woldia town.

2.4. Study Population

The study population involved all selected students of Woldia town secondary school.

2.5. Sample Size Determination

The sample size of the study was calculated using single proportion population formula as n = (Z2α/2  P  (1 − P)/d2), where n = sample size,  = proportion of sexual practice <18 years (taken as 53.3% according to reproductive health service utilization in Mizan-Tepi University students, Ethiopia, 2017 [3], d = maximum allowable error (margin of error) = 0.05, and Z = value of standard normal distribution at 95% confidence level (z= 1.96).

By adding 10% nonresponse rate, the total sample size will be 382  10% = 38. Thus, the total sample size was n = 420.

2.6. Sampling Techniques and Procedure

We have used multistage stratified sampling technique. In the study area, there were a total of four secondary schools. Sections from each school were selected with simple random sampling method. Then, they were allocated proportionately. From each section, students were picked by systematic sampling method. The samples were distributed proportionally based on probability proportional to size (PPS). Participants in each school were selected by using systematic sampling technique after calculating sampling interval (K) for each school according to students’ roll number in the class and the first student was selected by simple random method. K = N/nf = 3295/420 = 8. So, every 5 individuals were selected until the sample size was completed.

2.7. Variables
2.7.1. Dependent Variables

The dependent variables included knowledge of reproductive health services, attitude towards reproductive health services, and practice of reproductive health services.

2.7.2. Independent Variables

The independent variables included sociodemographic factors, health care factors, social factors, and behavioral factors.

2.8. Eligibility Criteria
2.8.1. Inclusion Criteria

The inclusion criteria were Woldia town secondary school students who attend the class during data collection period and volunteers.

2.8.2. Exclusion Criteria

(i)Those who were not available during data collection period(ii)Those who were physically and mentally not capable of being interviewed

2.9. Operational Definitions
2.9.1. Good Knowledge

Those students who answer mean and above the mean score of knowledge questions were categorized as knowledgeable while those students answer below the mean score were categorized under poor knowledge.

2.9.2. Good Attitude

Those students who answer mean and above the mean score of attitude questions were categorized as having good attitude while those students answer below the mean score were categorized as having poor attitude.

2.9.3. Good Practice

Those students who answer mean and above the mean score of practice questions were categorized as having good practice while those students who answer below the mean score were categorized as having poor practice.

2.10. Data Collection Tool and Procedure

Data was collected by an adapted, pretested, structured, and interviewer-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire was first developed in English and translated to Amharic language by an expert. It was translated back to English by an independent translator to check for consistency. An interview with adolescent of the index students was conducted at their secondary school.

2.11. Data Quality Control

To assure data quality, the data collection tool was pretested. Data collectors and the supervisor were trained on the data collection techniques. In addition, the completeness, accuracy, and consistency of the collected data were checked on daily basis during the data collection time. The supervisors and principal investigators closely followed the data collection process. The data was entered on daily basis and missing data was identified. Incomplete data or questioners that miss the major content were not included in the study.

2.12. Data Analysis and Presentation

Data was entered by using EpiData version 4.2 and was exported to SPSS version 24 for analysis. Descriptive statistics like frequency, proportions, mean, and standard deviation were computed to describe the study variable in relation to the population and were presented by tables and graphs. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regressions were carried out to see associations between dependent and independent variables. Those variables that have value ≤0.25 were taken to the multivariable logistic regression model to adjust for possible confounders. The strength of association was declared at values <0.05. Finally, the result was compiled and presented using tables, graphs, and texts.

3. Result

All 420 respondents complete the questioner with the response rate of 100%. Among these, 204 (48.6%) were females. The majority of the respondents 238 (56.7%) were within the age group of 15–19 years. Most of respondents were unmarried 384 (91.4%) followed by having boy/girlfriend 231 (55.0%) (Table 1).


CharacteristicsCategoryFrequencyPercent

Age10–155011.9
15–1923856.7
20–2413231.4

SexMale21651.4
Female20448.6

Marital statusUnmarried38491.4
Married215.0
Divorced133.1
Widowed2.5

ResidenceUrban30472.4
Rural11627.6

Father’s occupationFarmer159159
Civil servant131131
Merchant7272
Driver3434
Daily laborer44
Others2020

Wealth indexHigh10825.7
Medium24558.3
Low6716.0

EthnicityAmhara39894.8
Tigri174.0
Others51.2

ReligionMuslim12229.0
Orthodox27866.2
Protestant143.3
Others61.4

Educational levelGrade 923756.4
Grade 1018343.6

Presence of RHS in schoolYes28668.1
No13431.9

Handling of RHS providersGood19146
Moderate17641.9
Bad5112.1

Missed RHS requiredYes26262.4
No15837.6

Reason for not getting RHLack of money15637.1
Neighbors felt ashamed14735.0
Service providers refused7718.3
Clinic was closed409.5

Ever heard of YFRHSYes26162.1
No15937.9

Parents influence not to use RHSYes27064.3
No15035.7

Stigma attached to utilizing RHSYes26863.8
No15236.2

Cultural and religious influenceYes24859.0
No17241.0

Have girl/boyfriendYes23155.0
No18945.0

Had sexual intercourseYes15035.7
No27064.3
No24859.0

Chew chatYes10324.5
No31775.5

Drink alcoholYes12229.0
No29871.0

3.1. Knowledge Level of Respondents on Reproductive Health Issues

The prevalence of good knowledge was 204 (48.6%). About 334 (79.5%) respondents have awareness of pregnancy risk time. Three-fourths, 315 (75.0%), of respondents ever heard of VCT and the majority 322 (76.7%) of respondents ever heard about family planning method. One hundred sixteen (27.76%) respondents have got information about reproductive health services from their parents followed by 101 (24.16%) respondents who got from their teacher. The majority 292 (69.5%) of participants knows injectable as ways of contraception followed by condom 222 (52.9%). Regarding respondents’ knowledge on STI, majority 362 (86.2%) of respondents had ever heard about STIs. Of those heard about STI, 58 (13.8%) participants have heard using radio/television. About 223 (53.1%), 146 (34.8%), and 123 (29.3%) of respondents know the most known types of STI: syphilis, gonorrhea, and chancroid, respectively. About 273 (65%), 163 (39%), and 270 (61%) of respondents know that STI manifested with genital discharge, genital ulcer, and pain during urination, respectively. Regarding knowledge about ways of HIV transmission, the majority 317 (75.5%) of respondents knows that unsafe sexual intercourse is one way of HIV/AIDS transmission. Regarding respondents’ knowledge on ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies, the majority 258 (61.4%) of respondents know pills/injectable, 233 (55. 5%) and condom 86 (20.5%) as ways of prevention of unwanted pregnancy, respectively (Table 2).


VariablesCategoryFrequencyPercent

Aware ness of pregnancy risk timeYes33479.5
No8620.5

RH informationYes29871
No12229

Ever heard about family planning methodYes32276.7
No9823.3

Ever heard of VCTYes31575.0
No10525.0

Source of information about RHParents11627.76
Peer9923.76
Teacher10124.16
Notice board7117.06
Mass media337.26

Ways of preventing unwanted pregnancy

Oral contraceptive pillsYes23155.0
No18945.0

CondomYes22252.9
No19847.1

InjectableYes29269.5
No12830.5

IUCDYes7718.3
No34381.7

SterilizationYes5112.1
No36987.9

AbstainYes9923.6
No32176.4

WithdrawalYes348.1
No38691.9

Safe period/abstainYes6114.5
No35985.5

Ever heard of STIYes36286.2
No5813.8

Most known types of STI

GonorrheaYes14634.8
No27465.2

SyphilisYes22353.1
No19746.9

ChancroidYes12329.3
No29770.7

LGVYes7517.9
No34582.1

HIV/AIDSYes32577.4
No9522.6

Symptoms of STI

Genital dischargeYes27365
No14735

Genital ulcerYes16339
No25761

Pain during urinationYes27061
No15039

Ways of HIV/AIDS transmission

Unsafe sexual intercourseYes31775.5
No10324.5

Blood transfusionYes22854.3
No19245.7

Sharing of needle and syringesYes29069.0
No13031.0

During pregnancy and child birthYes14935.5
No27164.5

Through breast milkYes13131.2
No28968.8

Through mosquito and other insects’ biteNo32477.1
Yes9622.9

Hand shaking or sharing foodsNo33078.6
Yes9021.4

Ways of preventing unwanted pregnancy

AbstainYes24257.6
No17842.4

CondomYes23355.5
No18744.5

Pills/injectableYes25861.4
No16238.6

AbstainYes24257.6
No17842.4

3.2. Factors Associated with Knowledge Level of Respondents on Reproductive Health Issues
3.2.1. Bivariate and Multivariate Analysis of Knowledge on RH Issues and Associated Factors

In bivariate logistic regression analysis residence, educational level, handling of RHS providers, ever gone RHS institution, had information about RHS, having girl/boyfriend, missed RHS service, had RHS in school, chew chat, and stigma to utilize RHS were associated with knowledge level of respondents on reproductive health issues. In multivariate logistic regression residence, educational level, handling of RHS providers, ever gone RHS institution, missed RHS service, had RHS in school, chew chat, and stigma to utilize RHS were found to be significantly associated with the level of knowledge of respondents on reproductive health issues. Accordingly, the odds of good knowledge on reproductive health issues among respondents from urban residence (AOR = 2.40, 95% CI (1.23, 2.36)) were higher compared to those respondents from rural residences. Respondents who are grade 10 were 1.46 times more likely to have good level knowledge on RH issues compared to grade 9 respondents. The odds of good knowledge on reproductive health issues among respondents who get good handling from RHS providers (AOR = 2.28, 95% CI (1.15, 2.54)) were higher compared to those who get bad handling from RHS providers. Respondents who ever gone to RHS and did not miss the service were 1.25 times more likely to have good knowledge of RH issues compared to those who missed the service. The odds of good knowledge on reproductive health issues among respondents who have RHS in their school (AOR = 2.06, 95% CI (1.68, 7.66)) were higher compared to those who have not RHS in their school. Moreover respondents who live in a community with stigma to utilize RHS were 37% less likely to have good knowledge on RH issues compared to those who live in a community with no stigma to utilize RHS (Table 3).


Exposure variableResponsesKnowledge levelCOR with 95% CIAOR 95% CIvalue
Good knowledge 204 (48.6%)Poor knowledge 216 (51.4)

ResidenceUrban137 (32.6)167 (39.8)3.67 (1.08, 2.57)2.40 (1.23, 2.362)0.024
Rural67 (16.0)49 (11.7)11

Wealth indexHigh47 (11.2)61 (14.5)11
Medium125 (29.8)120 (28.6)0.74 (0.47, 1.17)0.96 (0.58, 1.580)0.868
Low32 (7.6)35 (8.3)0.84 (0.46, 1.55)1.18 (0.60, 2.32)0.632

Educational levelGrade 9102 (24.3)135 (32.1)11
Grade 10102 (24.3)81 (19.3)1.67 (1.13, 2.46)1.46 (1.16, 2.21)0.036

Had information about SRHSYes152 (36.2)182 (43.3)1.83 (1.13, 2 .97)1.56 (0.92, 2.63).098
No52 (12.4)34 (8.1)11

Handling of RHS providersGood84 (20.0)108 (25.8)2.45 (0.78, 2.69)2.28 (1.15, 2.54)0.047
Moderate93 (22.2)83 (19.8)1.00 (0.54, 1.88)0.98 (0.50, 1.91)0.949
Bad27 (6.4)24 (5.7)110.323

Ever gone RHS and missed the serviceYes120 (28.6)142 (33.8)11
No84 (20.0)749 (17.6)1.34 (90, 2.00)1.25 (1.10, 5.94)0.023

Had RHS in schoolYes121 (28.8)143 (34.0)2.34 (0.90, 2.00)2.06 (1.68, 7.66)0.011
No83 (19.8)73 (17.4)11

Is there stigma to utilize RHS?Yes138 (32.9)130 (31.0)0.73 (0.48, 1.08)0.63 (0.41, 0.98)0.041
No66 (15.7)86 (20.5)11

Do you have girl/boyfriend?Yes106 (25.2)125 (29.8)1.27 (0.86, 1.87)1.14 (0.74, 1.77)0.556
No98 (23.3)91 (21.7)1

Did you ever had sexual intercourse?Yes67 (16.0)83 (19.8)1.28 (0.86, 1.91)0.98 (0.61, 1.580)0.935
No137 (32.6)133 (31.7)11

Did your friends encourage you to use RHS?Yes77 (18.3)95 (22.6)10 (0.88, 1.91)0.78 (0.47, 1.28)0.320
No127 (30.2)121 (28.8)11

Did you chew chat?Yes36 (8.6)67 (16.0)2.10 (1.32, 3.33)1.85 (1.01, 3.38)0.047
No168 (40.0)149 (35.5)11

Did you drink alcohol?Yes47 (11.2)75 (17.9)1.78 (1.16, 2.73)1.31 (0.75, 2.30)0.345
No157 (37.4)141 (33.6)11

Note. value < 0.05, CI = confidence interval, COR = crude odds ratio, and AOR = adjusted odds ratio.

4. Discussion

This institution-based descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted on 420 study participants to assess the magnitude and associated factors of knowledge on reproductive health services among secondary school students in Woldia town. Accordingly, the overall prevalence of good knowledge was 48.6%. This finding is consistent with two studies conducted in Nigeria [18, 19]. This might be due to the similarity of study subjects in both Nigerian studies, and our studies are conducted on adolescents. The magnitude is lower than that of the study conducted in Gondar University [20] and Wolaita Sodo University [21]. The possible reason could be the difference in the study population that the studies from Gondar and Wolaita Sodo University are conducted on university students who have better exposure on RH issues compared with our study subjects who are secondary school students having less information exposure. The high proportion health science students in their study may also be the possible reason. Students who come from urban areas are more likely to have good level of knowledge about HR issues than those who come from rural areas. This finding is in line with a study conducted in Wolaita Sodo University [21] and in Gondar University [20]. As evidenced from the Ethiopian demographic and health survey, people from rural areas are less likely to read a newspaper, listen to the radio, or watch television; therefore, their knowledge about HR issues can be negatively affected [22]. Respondents who are grade 10 were more likely to have good level of knowledge on RH issues compared to grade 9 respondents. This finding is supported by another studies in Ethiopia [22, 23]. This might be due to the fact that as the level of education increases, the information exposure about RH issues and age maturity will improve the knowledge level of students. The odds of good knowledge on reproductive health issues among respondents who get good handling from RHS providers were higher compared to those who get bad handling from RHS providers. This might be due the fact that good handling of RH service providers would help the participants to have positive attitude towards SRH services and they ask for information regarding RH issues and they will listen to and apply the counseling given by the providers [23]. The odds of good knowledge on reproductive health issues among respondents who have RHS in their school were higher compared to those who have not RHS in their school. This finding is supported by the study conducted in northeast Ethiopia [23]. The possible justification for this might be those service providers in school will give counseling on RH issues in addition to giving treatment. In these settings, students are more likely to get education about SRHRs while they visit the clinic for other RH services which boosts their knowledge. The odds of good level of knowledge on RH issues are lower among those adolescents who have stigma compared to those who have no stigma have higher risk of low level to poor RH utilization than their counterparts. This result is similar with Nigeria and Nepal [24, 25]. This might be due to the fact that those who were stigmatized lack proper information on safe sex as well as they cannot communicate their problems with each other in fear of social stigma and less likely to get the opportunity to RH service and counseling.

4.1. Strength and Limitation

The study used adapted standardized questionnaires which increase its validity. Adequate sample size was employed with a high response rate. The investigators made a lot of effort to maintain the quality of the data, mainly through a pretest, frequent field supervisions, and training of data collectors. However, the study is not free from error. It may introduce social desirability and recall bias. In addition, the study was not supplemented with any qualitative data. As being cross-sectional, this work has not shown cause-effect relationships.

5. Conclusion

The level of knowledge of respondents on reproductive health issues in the study area was low. Residence, educational level, handling of RHS providers, ever gone RHS institution, missed RHS service, had RHS in school, chew chat, and stigma to utilize RHS were found to be significantly associated with the level of knowledge of respondents on reproductive health issues. Hence, strengthening women’s education and establishing RH service and RH issues-related education shall be available among all faculties giving emphasis to students from rural areas. Information about reproductive health issues should be provided to adolescents through medical schools’ curricula.

Data Availability

The data used to support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.

Ethical Approval

The study was carried out after getting permission from the ethical review committee of Woldia University, College of Health Science.

Written informed consent for participation in the study was obtained from their parent or guardian for participants who were children (under 16 years old). A letter of support which indicates the objective of the study was written to each secondary school. The purpose of the study was explained to the participants and data was collected after full informed written consent obtained and confidentiality of the information was also maintained by omitting their names and personal identification.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare there are no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.

Authors’ Contributions

BB, KH, MA, HF, and TM developed the study design and protocol, literature review, selection of studies, quality assessment, data extraction, statistical analysis, interpretation of the data and developing the initial drafts of the manuscript, and prepared the final draft of the manuscript. All the authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Copyright © 2020 Biruk Beletew Abate et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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