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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Magnitude and risk factors of abortion among regular female students in Wolaita Sodo University, Ethiopia

Amha Admasie Gelaye1*, Kalemelekot Nigussie Taye1 and Tesfa Mekonen2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences and Medicine, Wolaita Sodo University, Wolaita Sodo, Ethiopia

2 School of Nursing and Midwifery, College of Health Sciences and Medicine, Wolaita Sodo University, Wolaita Sodo, Ethiopia

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BMC Women's Health 2014, 14:50  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-14-50

Published: 26 March 2014

Abstract

Background

Induced abortion is one of the greatest human rights dilemmas of our time. Yet, abortion is a very common experience in every culture and society. According to the World Health Organization, Ethiopia had the fifth largest number of maternal deaths in 2005 and unsafe abortion was estimated to account for 32% of all maternal deaths in Ethiopia. Youth are disproportionately affected by the consequences of unsafe abortion. The objective of this study was, therefore, to determine the magnitude and identify factors associated with abortion among female Wolaita Sodo University students.

Methods

A descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted in Wolaita Sodo University between May and June 2011. Data were collected from 493 randomly selected female students using structured and pre-tested questionnaires.

Results

The rate of abortion among students was found to be 65 per 1000 women, making it three fold the national rate of abortion for Ethiopia (23/1000 women aged 15–44). Virtually all of the abortions (96.9%) were induced and only half (16) were reported to be safe. Students with history of alcohol use, who are first-year and those enrolled in faculties with no post-Grade 10 Natural Science background had higher risk of abortion than their counterparts. About 23.7% reported sexual experience. Less than half of the respondents (44%) ever heard of emergency contraception and only 35.9% of those who are sexually experienced ever used condom.

Conclusions

High rate of abortion was detected among female Wolaita Sodo University students and half of the abortions took place/initiated under unsafe circumstances. Knowledge of students on legal and safe abortion services was found to be considerably poor. It is imperative that improved sexual health education, with focus on safe and legal abortion services is rendered and wider availability of Youth Friendly family planning services are realized in Universities and other places where young men and women congregate.

Keywords:
Abortion; Induced abortion; Abortion law; University students; Youth sexual reproductive health; Youth sexual experience