Sex Reprod Healthc. 2016 Mar;7:14-20.

Use of emergency contraception in Nigeria: An exploration of related factors among sexually active female university students

Abiodun O


Objective: Unsafe abortions account for nearly one-third of maternal deaths among young people. Women who have an induced abortion are usually literate and less than 30 years old; usually undergraduates with unintended pregnancies. Many of these pregnancies could have been prevented by contraception. The aim of this study was to determine the correlates of uptake of emergency contraception among university students.

Method: : A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1328 sexually active, never married female university students. Self-administered questionnaire was used to assess knowledge, perception and practice of emergency contraception. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify the predictors of emergency contraception.

Results: Majority of the participants were aware of emergency contraception (72.6%), had good knowledge (56.0%), and had the perception that it is effective (74.6%) and easy to use (72.4%). The main sources of information about emergency contraception were friends (32.9%) and the media (20.0%). About 52.0% of the participants had unprotected sex in the preceding six months, while 718 (54.1%) had ever used emergency contraception. The main sources of the commodities were sexual partners (46.2%) and medicine stores (35.4%). The uptake of emergency contraception was predicted by being =19 years (AOR = 3.193), rural dwelling (AOR = 4.247), perceptions that it is effective (AOR = 2.229E11) and easy to use (AOR = 6.680E8).

Conclusions: Use of contraception among sexually active female Nigerian university students is predicted by the perception about its effectiveness and ease of use. Sexual and reproductive health programmes should focus on improving knowledge and addressing misconception in order to improve perception about emergency contraception.

Implications: Delayed or forgotten pill intake is very common. Ovulation inhibition by the new-generation oestrogen-free pill, containing 4mg drospirenone for 24days followed by a 4-day treatment-free period, was maintained despite four 24-h delays in tablet intake, so the impact of delayed intake on contraceptive reliability will be low.

Comment: We think that female university students know how emergency contraception works and that that is why they use it. This study shows clearly that knowledge about emergency contraception must receive a more prominent place in sex education. (HMV)