Adolescents and Utilization of Family Planning Services in Rural Community of Nigeria

Iniabasi N. Isonguyo, Anthonia Adindu


Adolescence is a critical stage in human development characterized by peer pressure, confusion, exuberance and experimentation particularly with sex, drugs and alcohol.  Hence, adolescent reproductive health is critical due to the gregarious sexual activities, which predispose young people to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion, and death. Adolescents in Nigeria constitute about a fifth of the national population, 12% have first childbirth before 15 years, most become parents before 20 years, and suffer from sexually transmitted infections (Federal Ministry of Health, 2003).  Objectives of the study were to determine family planning services available, and pattern of utilization among adolescents in a rural community of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria; identify factors influencing utilization of services; and determine knowledge, and attitude of adolescents to family planning services. Four hundred (400) randomly selected adolescents completed a structured questionnaire, 277(69.75%) said family planning services were available. Sources of services were chemists 125(31.25%), pharmacy 74(18.50%) and hospital/health centre 184(46.00%); and  reasons  for  using a place were low cost 26%,  privacy  23.5%, proximity 22.75%, and 19.75% attitude of provider. Sources of information on family planning include radio 33.25%, health facility 24.75%, school 19%, peers 12.75%, church 8.5% and parents 6.5%. Interestingly, 58.25% said family planning was for both sexes, 67.5%, it was not for married people alone, and 91.5% said their religion was not against family planning.  Most, 68% were sexually active, 55.25% were not worried about unplanned pregnancy after unprotected sex, and 44.8% were not worried about HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, only 34.5% were using condom, yet 76.50% acknowledged condom could protect a woman from unwanted pregnancy, and 27% did not use any method.  Conclusion, family planning services were available but not well-utilized and rather worrisome most adolescents were not worried about unplanned pregnancy and consequences of unprotected sex.

Keywords: Adolescent sexuality; family planning utilization among adolescents, rural adolescents and family planning.


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