Original Research

Knowledge and attitude of schoolgirls about illegal abortions in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo

Lussy J. Paluku, Langalibalele H. Mabuza, Patrick M.H. Maduna, John V. Ndimande
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 2, No 1 | a78 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v2i1.78 | © 2010 Lussy J. Paluku, Langalibalele H. Mabuza, Patrick M.H. Maduna, John V. Ndimande | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 June 2009 | Published: 11 March 2010

About the author(s)

Lussy J. Paluku, Heal Africa Tertiary Hospital of North-Kivu, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the
Langalibalele H. Mabuza, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, University of Limpopo, Medunsa campus, South Africa
Patrick M.H. Maduna, Gauteng Department of Health, Head Office, Johannesburg, South Africa
John V. Ndimande, Department of Family Medicine and Primary Health Care, University of Limpopo, Medunsa campus, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Adolescent sexual activity, early pregnancy, induced abortion and the increase in HIV infection have become major concerns in sub-Saharan Africa and understanding adolescent sexual behaviour remains a challenge. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the practice of illegal abortions is prevalent among school-going adolescent girls with unplanned pregnancies. Assessing their attitude and knowledge on the subject could be a starting point from which to address the problem.

Objectives: To determine the knowledge of schoolgirls in Goma, DRC about the health consequences of illegal abortions and to assess their attitude towards these abortions.

Method: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among a randomly selected sample of 328 high school girls aged 16 to 20 years. A pre-tested, self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Nine out of 55 (11 public and 44 private) secondary schools were randomly selected for inclusion in the study. The Epi-Info 2000 computer program was used for data capturing and analysis.

Results: The different sources of information were the radio (66.2%, 217), friends (31.7%, 104), parents (1.5%, 5), and the church (0.5%, 2). The health consequences of illegal abortion mentioned were death, infertility, infection and bleeding. Of the participants, 9.8% (32) had committed an abortion before and 46% (151) knew where to obtain it; 76.2% (250) of participants were against illegal abortion, while 23.8% (78) supported it.

Conclusion: Girls in secondary school in Goma had good knowledge of the illegal abortion practice and its consequences. A fifth of them were in support of the procedure. The DRC government may need to consider legalising abortion to secure a healthy future for affected girls.


Keywords

high school girls; illegal abortions; knowledge; contraceptives; attitude

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Crossref Citations

1. The incidence of induced abortion in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2016
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doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184389