Adolescent contraception: survey of attitudes and practice of health professionals

Afr J Med Med Sci. Sep-Dec 2000;29(3-4):247-52.


In Nigeria, there is a persistent reluctance to provide adolescents with contraceptives and this is based largely on the premise that the culture does not support pre-marital sexual activity. However, several studies have revealed that a large number of adolescents are experiencing early sexual debut, some as early as 13 years. Furthermore, mortality resulting from termination of unwanted pregnancies is on the increase among Nigerian adolescents. The aim of this study is to assess the attitudes and practice of health workers in Ibadan regarding adolescent contraception. A structured questionnaire was administered to 735 health workers in selected hospitals and health facilities in Ibadan, Nigeria. Information relating to their practice and attitudes towards adolescent contraception was sought. The results revealed that while 58.9% of the respondents had counselled adolescents, only 30.7% had ever prescribed contraceptives for them. Among health workers that approved of family planning, 52.6% were favourably disposed to adolescent contraception while 23.9% were not. We observed that 40.2% of health workers that did not approve of family planning are not favourably disposed to adolescent contraception. Health workers who counsel adolescents on the use of contraceptives are more likely than those who do not to approve of its use. In addition, those who approve of family planning are 12 times more than those who do not, to have a favourable disposition to adolescent contraception. Perhaps, if providers are more receptive to adolescent contraception, the services will be more accessible to those who are sexually active. This will, no doubt, stem the incidence of unwanted pregnancies in our community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / ethnology*
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attitude of Health Personnel / ethnology*
  • Contraception / methods
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Family Planning Services / methods
  • Family Planning Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / statistics & numerical data
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urban Health