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