Knowledge and utilisation of family planning services among tertiary students in Northern Ghana: The case of College of Nursing and Midwifery, Nalerigu

Zaratu S. Sulemana, Sinalo Gqunu, Francis D.N. Abobo, Hilda A. Halm, Nat Obour-Awuku, Ransford O. Kumi, Bright Y. Amoore, Richard K.D. Ephraim, Evans Duah, Clement Agoni

Abstract

Though tertiary students studying health-related programs are assumed knowledgeable about family planning, this does not always translate to increased use of family planning services. In a cross-sectional survey, this study assessed 411 nursing, midwifery and allied health students' knowledge of family planning, contraceptive use, perceptions, and factors affecting the utilisation of family planning services. Each student completed a 24-itemised questionnaire in a Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing Survey. The data was analysed with Stata /IC version 16. Statistical significance was set at p<0.05. Overall knowledge of family planning was 99.7%, commonly gained in school (51.8%), followed by clinics and hospitals (41.4%). Only 21.7% of the students used family planning services. Menstrual cramps (57.9%), infertility (33.1%), and weight gain (32.5%) were the commonly perceived side effects of contraceptive use. The high proximity of participants to family planning service providers and lack of community, family, and partner acceptance of modern contraceptives were associated with underutilisation. Despite the high level of knowledge of family planning, the student's utilisation of family planning services was poor. To boost family planning service uptake among tertiary health students, it is essential to tackle barriers related to community, family, and partner acceptance. This can be achieved through educational programs that involve men in family planning discussions and by enhancing service accessibility. (Afr J Reprod Health 2024; 28 [5]: 55-66).

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