RESEARCH PROPOSAL - EXPLORING KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDES OF MALE ADOLESCENTS TOWARDS CONTRACEPTION IN ZARIA, NIGERIA Introduction
Sexual and reproductive illness is one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity in adolescents. (1) Annually, over 300 million new cases of curable Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) occur worldwide, as well as 5 million new Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections, with developing countries accounting for two thirds of these infections. (2) In Nigeria, available statistics indicate that 4.5% of women aged 15-44 undergo abortions each year. (3) Furthermore, unprotected sexual activity among adolescents has been shown to be partly responsible for high fertility and STI rates in the country. (4) Halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS in the 15-24 age group by 2015 is one of the targets of the sixth Millennium Development Goal. (5) Paramount to the realisation of this goal is the establishment of solid sexual and reproductive health programmes. Research has shown that there are varying levels of knowledge of contraception among adolescents in developing countries. (6) For example, a study in Nigeria attributed low levels of knowledge to inadequate sex education in schools. (7) The topic of sex is still regarded as a taboo; consequently, little is said about it in the home. (8) Even though many Ministries of Health and Education have sex education on their agenda, there is still reluctance to implement this education regardless of the extent of unwanted consequences. (2) Attitudes towards contraception are important determinants of contraceptive use and may be influenced by factors such as education, socioeconomic status, environmental and demographic factors. (9) However, other sociocultural factors such as attitudes of service providers, gender norms, peer influence, coital frequency and attitudes towards sex in general (erotophobia and erotophilia) also contribute significantly. (10) Religious belief is an additional factor influencing attitudes towards the use of contraception. Indeed, it has been shown that Muslims regard coitus interruptus as the preferred method of contraception (11) while the Catholic Church encourages only natural methods and is against any other form of contraception as this is believed to encourage immorality. (12) This study will be carried out in Zaria, the largest town in the northern part of Kaduna State Nigeria with a blend of both urban and rural neighbourhoods. The prevalence of STIs is high (44.4%) and abortion rates are approximately 45% with most of these occurring among females aged 15-19 years. There is however a dearth of literature on current figures. (13) Most studies have to date focused on women’s contraceptive use, very few of them being in northern Nigeria. Furthermore, contraception and family planning programs have targeted women but have however yielded little effect.(14) This may be because most sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria are patriarchal and it is the men who have the final say on decisions including those on contraceptive use. (15) It is therefore important to understand the extent of male adolescents’ knowledge surrounding contraception and the factors influencing their attitudes towards contraceptive use. This may aid the establishment of programs that are both friendly and not targeted at the females alone. Furthermore, as health behaviours developed during adolescence progress into adulthood, (2) programs targeting the adolescent age group may hold particular promise in arresting the rising trends in sexual and reproductive ill health. Research question
* To explore the levels of knowledge and factors influencing attitudes of male adolescents towards contraception in Zaria, Nigeria. Research Aims
* To determine male adolescents’ level of knowledge about contraception. * To explore specific factors influencing attitudes of male adolescents in Zaria towards contraception. Objectives
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11. Ibrahim A. The Islamic view on birth control and contraception [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2012 Jan 7]. Available from: http://islamiclearningmaterials.com/islam-birth-control/
13. Sunmola AM, Dipeolu M, Babalola S, Adebayo OD. Reproductive knowledge, sexual behaviour and contraceptive use among adolescents in Niger State of Nigeria. Afr J Reprod Health. 2003; 7(1): 37–48.
17. Chinsembu KC. Sexually transmitted infections in adolescents. Open Infect Dis J. 2009; 3:107–117.
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