Background: Emergency contraceptive (EC) reduces the risk of occurrence of unwanted pregnancy in situations of unprotected sexual intercourse.
Objective: To measure and analyze the knowledge and practices of EC among female students of Jimma University Community High School.
Method: A cross sectional descriptive study involving all grade 9-12 female students enrolled at Jimma University Community High School in Jimma town, South West Ethiopia was undertaken from February 26- 29, 2006.
Results: There were a t5otal of 106 respondents, the majority 95(89.6%) being in the group 14-17 and few were between the age of 18-21(10.3%). Most of them were single 94(88.7%). Seventeen (16%) were sexually active, five (4.7%) have given a history of previous pregnancy and two had a history of induced abortion. Sixty eight (64.1%) had heard about EC and the most cited sources of information were school teachers and health professionals. Out of those who have heard about EC, only 13(19%) of the respondents were able to tell correctly the recommended time for EC use (i.e. within 72 hours of unprotected sex). Awareness about EC was not found to be associated with either age or education level (p>0>1). EC use among those with prior knowledge was found to be very low 3(4.4%).
Conclusion: This study has shown that though a significant number were practicing sex where as the general awareness, detailed knowledge and practice of EC among adolescent high school student very low. It is recommended that adolescent reproductive health/family planning programs be initiated/expanded in school. Furthermore ensuring on sex practices and access to adolescent friendly EC information and services should be promoted.
Keywords: Emergency contraception, knowledge, practice, family planning