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Open Access Research article

Reproductive health knowledge and services utilization among rural adolescents in east Gojjam zone, Ethiopia: a community-based cross-sectional study

Amanuel Alemu Abajobir1* and Assefa Seme2

Author Affiliations

1 Public Health Department, Debremarkos University, P.O. Box: 269, Debremarkos, Ethiopia

2 Department of Reproductive and Family Health, School of Public Health, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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BMC Health Services Research 2014, 14:138  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-138

Published: 29 March 2014



According to World Health Organization, adolescents are people between 10 and 19 years of age; one-fifth of Ethiopian population constitutes adolescents and four-fifth live in rural areas. Local evidence about adolescents’ reproductive health knowledge, services utilization and associated factors are relevant to design age-appropriate program interventions and strategies. Hence, this study assessed the level of reproductive health knowledge and services utilization among rural adolescents in Machakel district, Northwest Ethiopia.


A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the level of reproductive health knowledge and services utilization of rural adolescents in Machakel district. The study employed both quantitative and qualitative methods. A systematic random sampling technique was used to select 415 adolescents from eligible households. Data were collected using pre-tested structured questionnaires and in-depth interview guides. The data were entered into Epi Info and analyzed by SPSS software for windows. Univariate, bivariate and multivariate analyses were done.


More than two-third (67%) of the adolescents had knowledge about reproductive health. Age (AOR = 3.77, 95% CI: 3.1-8.98), living arrangement (AOR = 2.21, 95% CI: 1.81-6.04) and economic status (AOR = 3.37, 95% CI: 1.65-6.87) were associated with reproductive health knowledge. However, only one-fifth (21.5%) of the adolescents had ever used reproductive health services including family planning, sexually transmitted infections treatment and information, education and communication. Reproductive health services utilization was significantly associated with age (AOR = 2.18, 95% CI: 1.13-8.03) and knowledge for reproductive health (AOR = 1.23, 95% CI: 1.23-4.21). Parent disapproval, lack of basic information and pressure from partners were found to deter adolescents from accessing and using reproductive health services.


Reproductive health knowledge and services utilization amongst rural adolescents remained low. Age and economic status were significantly associated with reproductive health knowledge; moreover, reproductive health services utilization was associated with age and respective knowledge for reproductive health. Community-conversation in line with adolescent-to-adolescent-counseling, peer education and parent-adolescent communication should address sensitive topics such as sex education and life skill development.

Rural adolescent; Reproductive health knowledge; Services utilization