Individual and community-level determinants of knowledge about fertile periods among adolescent girls and young women (10-24 years) in Sub-Saharan Africa: A multilevel mixed effect analysis of a recent demographic and health survey

Heliyon. 2024 Feb 24;10(5):e26756. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2024.e26756. eCollection 2024 Mar 15.


Background: Identifying fertility periods accurately will protect teenage girls and young women from unintended pregnancies and related complications. However, in Sub-Saharan Africa, knowledge of the fertile period among adolescent girls and young women is not well studied. Thus, the purpose of this study was to assess adolescents' and young women's knowledge regarding fertility periods and its determinants in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Methods: The most recent demographic and health surveys' data were used. The study had 140,064 participants in all. The data was analyzed using STATA/SE version 14. Using a multilevel logistic regression model, factors associated with knowledge of fertile periods have been determined. P-values <0.05 showed the significance of the factors associated with the outcome variable. The data were interpreted using the adjusted odds ratio and confidence interval. The best-fit model was determined to be the one with the highest logliklihood ratio and the lowest deviance.

Results: One in five (20%) women between the ages of 10 and 24 had accurate knowledge about the fertile period. Age (AOR = 1.44, 95% CI: 1.40, 1.49), educational level (AOR = 1.68, 95% CI: 1.60, 1.77), knowledge of family planning (AOR = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.27, 1.39), distance (AOR = 2.31, 95% CI: 2.02, 2.98), residence (AOR = 1.06, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.10), and low community poverty (AOR = 3.06, 95% CI: 3.01, 3.12) had higher odds of knowledge about fertile period.

Conclusion: This research finds that adolescents and young women in sub-Saharan Africa have low knowledge of the reproductive period. It was discovered that factors at the individual and communal levels influence women's knowledge of the fertile period. While developing policies and strategies, the health ministries of Sub-Saharan African countries had to take into consideration input from women whose experiences indicated that obtaining reproductive health services was hindered by distance.

Keywords: Adolescent girls; Determinants; Fertile period; Knowledge; Sub-Saharan Africa; Yong women.