Adolescence is the period between the ages of 10-19 years that encompasses time from puberty onset to full legal age. This study on the topic “assessing adolescent knowledge on the risk factors and consequences of early pregnancies in the Buea’’ will be carried out among teenagers in Buea the objectives of the study will be ascertain their knowledge on the risk factors and consequences of early pregnancies with the purpose to improve adolescent’s behavior hence reducing the negative impacts which result from this flail. A descriptive cross sectional study design will be use, making use of a convenient sample technique to obtain data from 216 adolescent’s aged 10 to19 year using structured questionnaire. The answered questionnaires will be analyzed using SPSS, 21.0 and presented as frequencies and percentages on tables, pie and bar chats.
1.1 Background of the Study
Teenage pregnancy is a public health concern in both developed and developing countries, it is defined as any pregnancy that ends before the age of 20 years (Gwido V. and Fekadu M.A, 2015). South Sudan is among the top ten countries with the highest prevalence of teenage pregnancy, the others being Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger and Bangladesh Gwido V. and Fekadu M.A (2015). The society in which adolescents grow has an important influence on their development, relationships, adjustments and problems. Teenagers in Cameroon live in a society undergoing rapid technological changes. Children as young as seven years old have their own cell phones. They also engage in many social media apps like WHATSAPP, which is way of chatting to each other through cell phones. It is estimated that more than one billion people worldwide use the internet. More adolescents are raised by single parents or foster care as a result of high extramarital birth rate, divorce rate and AIDS (Kansumba, 2002).
Most teenagers spend a lot of time looking in the mirror or examining body parts in detail, and it does not end there, but also become more interested in that of others. They become more fascinated with basic facts about human reproduction. Gradually they become more interested in sexual experimentation with others. Part of this is motivated by curiosity, a desire for sexual stimulation and release, need for love, affection, intimacy, and acceptance from another person (Kansumba, 2002).
There are many reasons that drive teenagers towards sex via intercourse. Some teenagers do have sex via intercourse just because they want a quick fix to relieve biological drives. But often adolescent sexuality is driven by emotional needs that have nothing to do with sex. These emotional needs include the desire to receive affection, ease loneliness, gain acceptance, confirm masculinity or feminity, booster self-esteem, express anger, or escape from boredom. Sex becomes a means of expressing and satisfying nonsexual needs (Rice, 1992). According to Mushwana L. et al. (2015). Teenage is a delicate stage of life when both girls and boys may indulge themselves in certain irresponsible activities and end up being unexpected mothers and fathers. When parents come to know about their daughter’s pregnancy they generally have mixed reactions. They first get extremely angry accusing their daughters for the sense of irresponsibility they have shown. The expectations they had for their dearest suddenly appear to be vague and an almost sheer responsibility. They go on wondering how their child will be able to fulfill the responsibility of parenthood and at the same time seek for respectable and successful careers. On the other hand, some parents consider themselves responsible for their daughters’ wrongdings. They consider that there is something missing in their method of upbringing, which has given their daughters an opportunity of degrading their self-esteem. All in all, there are many factors that can lead to teenage pregnancy (Mushwana L. et al., 2015).
Studies indicate that teenagers become sexually active in early puberty. During this time, the teenager is faced with various challenges such as the onset of menstruation in girls and wet dreams in boys. Compared to urban areas, the incidence of teenage pregnancy, abortion and childbirth is significantly higher in rural areas. These teenagers become sexually active at an early stage and without using any form of contraceptives (Christensen, and Rosen, 1996), Adolescent pregnancy affects the emotional, social, physical, and economic well-being of the teenage parent and child. When a pregnant teenager is emotionally disturbed she ends up taking wrong decisions. (Kansumba, 2002) Stated that a desperate teenage mother abandoned her one-year-old toddler because the child no longer fits into her lifestyle. Child Welfare South Africa recorded 2392 new cases of abandonment over the past year with the majority being black. Current statistics put the figures of abandonment at 1500 among blacks, for coloured-700, Indians-70 to 80 and white-3 (Kansumba, 2002). Teenage pregnancy among blacks is proportionately higher than any other racial group. Black (Kansumba, 2002). Teenagers make up only 15 percent of the adolescent population, yet account for 31 percent of all births to adolescents and 44 percent of all births to unmarried adolescent this means the issue of teenage pregnancy was a problem long time ago, but it looks like it is deteriorating. As these teenagers do not want to use the reliable means of birth control, the number of premarital pregnancies among 15- to 19- year olds has skyrocketed to over 1 million a year (Kansumba, 2002).
Teenage pregnancy can lead to depression, poor school performance and emotional instability. The teenager develops fear of the unknown with regards to abandonment by a boyfriend or deprivation. A strong relationship between teenage pregnancy and depression can also be assumed (Christensen, 1996). Depression is associated with impaired decision making, lack of motivation and a low self-esteem. Amongst girls, pregnancy reflects an attitude of passivity and of not caring about what happens in their lives. Some teenagers fall pregnant because they are assertive (Christensen, 1996).
The term teenage has often been used interchangeably with adolescence. The concept of teenage /adolescence is not a new phenomenon, but it has a controversial notion. Some authors believe that the teen years start at 13 years and end at 19 years while others think that it begins from 10-11 years and ends at 20-21 years (Stephen O, et al. 2017)
1.2 Problem Statement
About 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 years old give birth each year, which is about 11% of all births worldwide and this does not include births among girls aged under 15 years (Gwido V. and Fekadu M.A, 2015). Globally 15 million women under the age of 20 give birth, representing up to one-fifth of all births and 529,000 women die due to pregnancy and child birth related complication every year (Acharya D et al. 2010). The risk of death due to pregnancy-related causes is double among women aged 15-19 compared to women in their twenties. Young women are also at risk of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unsatisfactory or coerced early sexual relationships (Acharya D et al. 2010).
In the developing world, one-third to one-half of women become mothers before the age of 20 and pregnancy related complications have become the leading causes of death among them (Acharya D et al., 2010). According to Acharya D et al., (2010), teenage pregnancy can have significant effect on the level of education of women, their employment opportunities and marital stability and it increases their economic and social dependency on family and neighbors. Worldwide, early child bearing is associated with higher risk of adverse reproductive outcomes and among the youngest mothers and their newborns, lead to increase maternal and infant mortality Stephen O et al. (2017). The profound prevalence of teenage pregnancy in some African countries has been explicitly, which shows that about 16 million women between 15 to 19 years old give birth each year equivalent to about 11% of birth worldwide WHO, (2008).
Teenage pregnancy is a fairly common occurrence in India, due to many factors such as early marriage, girls reaching puberty at younger ages and high specific fertility rate in the adolescent age group. In India teenage pregnancy varies from 8 to 14%. The pregnant teenager may not be quite fit to bear the burden of pregnancy and labor at a tender age, the obstetric outcome of teenage pregnancy is influenced by many sociomedical factors, maternal and prenatal morbidity mortality in teenagers Shubha D, (2017). So for this reason this work will add some data about the knowledge on the consequences of early pregnancy among teenagers in Buea.
Adolescents aged less than 16years face four times the risk of maternal death than women aged in their 20s, and the death rate of their neonates is about 50% higher. An estimated 16 million girls aged between 15 and 19 give birth every year, with 95% of these births occurring in developing countries. This makes up 11% of all births worldwide Shubha D, (2017).
The adverse effects of adolescent childbearing also extend to the health of their infants. Perinatal deaths are 50% higher among babies born to mothers under 20 years of age than among those born to mothers aged 20 to 29. The newborns of adolescent mothers are also more likely to have low birth weight, with the risk of long-term effects WHO (2012)
Rates of use of contraception by adolescents are often low. Use of any contraceptive method in women aged 15–49 years who are married or in union has risen from 55% in 1990 to 63% in 2007. Among adolescents it is lower, but with large regional and country differences. A study of contraceptive use in married and unmarried adolescents in Latin American, European and Asian countries showed rates ranging between 42% and 68%. African countries have the lowest rates, ranging from 3% to 49% WHO (2011).
1.3.1 Main Objective
The research goal will be to determine the level of awareness of teenagers in Buea on the consequences of early pregnancy.
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
To highlight the factors contributing to early pregnancies.To determine the consequences of early pregnancy.
1.4 Research Questions
Do adolescents know the factors that predisposed girls to early pregnancy?Does adolescent know the consequences of early pregnancy?
1.5 Significance of Study
The study will intend ascertain whether teenagers in Buea are aware of the factors to early pregnancy and their knowledge on the consequences of early pregnancy, so as to reduce the negative impacts that result from this flail, hence contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) four and five meant to reduce maternal and infant morbidity and mortality.
1.6 The Scope of the Study
This study will be carried in all the localities that make up the Buea municipality. Buea is found in Fako division of the south –west region of Cameroon on the foot of mount Cameroon. It is one of the sub-divisions in the Fako division of the South West Region of Cameroon and it is having a population of about 200,000 inhabitants with the population of males standing at 49% (98,000) and that of females approximately 51% (102,000).
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
Pregnancy, also known as gestation, is the time during which one or more offspring develops inside a woman. A multiple pregnancy involves more than one offspring, such as with twins. Pregnancy can occur by sexual intercourse or assisted reproductive technology Ananymous (2018).
Adolescent is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to legal adulthood. Adolescence is usually associated with teenage years that is between the ages of 12-19.
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