The Open Public Health Journal

ISSN: 1874-9445 ― Volume 12, 2019

Reproductive Health Choices Among Adolescents in Secondary Schools: A Case Study of Selected Schools in Limpopo, South Africa

Netshikweta ML1, Olaniyi FC2, *, Tshitangano TG2
1 Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa
2 Department of Public Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa



This study was conducted to determine the knowledge, opinions and practices of female adolescents in selected secondary schools in Limpopo Province of South Africa about reproductive health issues and assess the level of parental involvement in their choices.

Materials and methods:

A quantitative, exploratory, survey design was adopted. A total of 512 learners from grades 8 (first year of secondary school) and 12 (final year) were conveniently sampled from 24 randomly selected secondary schools in Limpopo Province. Data was collected with a structured, self-administered questionnaire and analysis was done using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0.


Sixteen (3.9%) of the learners attained menarche at or before the early age of 8 years and 102 (29.3%) experienced sexual debut before age 14 years. More than half of grade 12 (n =84, 52.5%) and 49 (14%) of grade 8 learners were sexually active and 80% (n = 444, 86.7%) of them were unaware of contraceptives when engaging in sexual intercourse for the first time. Only 116 (22.7%) of the respondents admitted to having knowledge about contraceptives before engaging in sex for the first time and more than a third (n = 172, 33.6%) have been pregnant at least once before the study was conducted. Parental involvement in Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) education was found to be low and many obtained the little information they have mainly through friends.


Many adolescents are lacking in vital information regarding their SRH and some hold wrong opinions about contraception. Parents are advised to initiate and sustain discussions regarding SRH with their children to help them make informed reproductive health choices.

Keywords: Knowledge, Opinions, Reproductive health, Contraceptives, Adolescents, Parental involvement.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2018
Volume: 11
First Page: 319
Last Page: 329
Publisher Id: TOPHJ-11-319
DOI: 10.2174/1874944501811010319

Article History:

Received Date: 28/03/2018
Revision Received Date: 28/6/2018
Acceptance Date: 09/07/2018
Electronic publication date: 24/07/2018
Collection year: 2018

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© 2018 ML et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address corresponding to this author at the Department of Public Health, School of Health Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa, Tel: +27612177991; Email:


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