1 Discipline of Public Health Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 4041, South Africa
2 Department of Demography & Social Statistics, Faculty of Social Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, P.O. Box 27272, Sharjah, UAE
It is estimated that over 210 million pregnancies occur each year, with almost half of these unplanned. The evidence further shows that about 76 million of these unplanned pregnancies occur in the developing world, with 19% ending in induced abortion and 11% of these abortions being unsafe. In sub-Saharan Africa, 2.2 unplanned pregnancies occur each year, with many of these in Nigeria. Reports show that 760,000 abortions occur each year in Nigeria, resulting in about 20,000 deaths. Abortion is greatly stigmatized in Nigeria, and the lack of a legal framework to support access to abortion services necessitates women to seek abortion services in unsafe places. This study, therefore, examines the perception of women regarding abortion (prevalence and stigma) and long-acting contraceptive (LARC) use in Nigeria.
We performed secondary data analysis of round 5 of performance monitoring and accountability (PMA) in seven states of Nigeria for women in reproductive age (n = 11,284). Responses with regard to abortion incidence, perceptions on stigmatization and LARC use were examined using chi-square (χ2) analysis and binary logistic regression models.
Socio-demographic factors examined were found to be significantly associated with the perception that abortion was common; however, women who were educated to any level were twice more likely to report abortion being common in their communities compared to women who agreed that abortion was shameful. Place of residence was a significant factor and women resident in rural areas were more likely to undergo an abortion (OR = 1.34, 95% CI= 1.21 – 1.48). Further, married women (OR = 15.18, 95% CI=7.40 – 31.11) were 15 times more likely to use LARC.
Perceptions that abortion is common and that it is a shameful practice were found to be underlying contributors to the use of LARC in Nigeria. However, the most significant influence was found to be exerted by respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics. Therefore, government and implementing agencies must develop an intervention to scale-up the use of LARC in Nigeria, and the framework should consider how to tackle socio-demographic barriers to access of contraceptive uptake as this would not only help increase the contraceptive prevalence rate but also reduce mortality from abortions.
Keywords: Abortion, Long-Acting Reversible Contraception, Stigmatization, Perception, Nigeria.
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