ASSESSING KNOWLEDGE OF TEENAGE GIRLS ON THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF TEENAGE PREGNANCY, CASE OF LIVANDA COMMUNITY
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This study was designed to explore the knowledge of teenagers on the causes and effects of teenage pregnancy, using Livanda community as a case study. The study was conceived due to the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy in the community.
The objectives of the study were, to identify the causes of teenage pregnancy among young girls, to examine the effect of teenage pregnancy on girls’ education, to determine the support mechanisms for teenagers and teen mothers and to examine the measures put in place to address teenage pregnancy.
To attain the goals of this study, the non-experimental exploratory study design was used and a convenient sampling method was used to select 40 participants for the study. Questionnaires were used to collect data for the study. Data collected was analyzed using a tally sheet and Ms. Excel and results were presented on tables and charts.
With respect to factors that lead to teenage pregnancy, it was evident that poor parenting, poverty and peer pressure are the major causes of teenage pregnancy. The study also revealed that most of the teenage mothers drop out of school. The study therefore recommended that teenage mothers should be helped in their psychosocial development and job skills development, the parents should be encouraged to teach their children sex education at home and the effective use of contraceptives when need be.
1.0 Background of the study
Teenage pregnancy is a social problem affecting developed countries such as the United States and developing countries such as Cameroon and this has been a source of worry for policy makers, social workers and educators Gyan, (2013). Teenage is a critical period in a person’s life. It is a period in which physical, psychological and social changes take place in one’s life. It starts from thirteen to nineteen years of age. During this period people become emotionally attracted to the opposite sex.
Teenagers are conscious of their looks, personality, people with whom they associate, and activities that please them. Teenagers may rebel against parents, and their role models may be artist, actors, musicians or other kinds of persons. They can also start involving in bad behaviors and subsequently have sexual experimentation as a result of peer pressure which leads to unwanted pregnancies Rachel J. and Caesar V.et al, 2009.
Globally there has been a growing concern about the alarming rate of teenage pregnancies and the consequences that these pose for pose for parents, children and society as a whole. Teenage pregnancy emerged from social invisibility, lower educational level and poverty involving young girls between the age of 13 to 19 and was far normal in the previous country and common in developed countries during the 20th century Hem (2016).
Devenish and Greatheal (1992) viewed teenage pregnancy as a catastrophe of an individual, her family and society. Globally as of (2011), the number of teenage pregnancies in the world was 14 billion of adolescents aged 14 to 19 years and more than 90% of these births are occurring in developing countries (UNICEF, 2011).
Mench et al (2001) reported that in Africa, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, there are concerns about high rate of teenage pregnancy related to school dropouts and also leading to gender disparities in education in developing countries. Gyepi-Garbrah (1985) has explained that the plight of pregnant girl in school in Africa is particularly wrenching, as they must either on their education or drop out of school either on their own violation of threatened official expulsion.
Girls drop out of school because pregnancy has been linked to poverty and its subsequent motherhood. It has been viewed as a cause as well as an effect of teenage pregnancy. It has therefore been observed that in rural communities, family financial status and social customs causes girls to stay out of school and engage into sexual relationships which lead to early pregnancy.
According to the world health organization (WHO,2010) teenage mothers are at risks of physical, mental and social condition which are likely to result to unsafe abortions with many health problems associated with negative outcome including HIV, STDs and mental problems such as depression. Also, pregnant teenager developed obstetric fistula which has a lot of effects for the lives of girls.
According to keller, Hilton and Twumasi-Ankran (1999) third world countries have been confronted by this social problem of teenage pregnancy. It has therefore been observed that on rural communities, family financial status and social customs cause girls to stay out of school and engage into sexual relationships which lead to early pregnancy.
Yanposkaya, Brown and Greenboum (2002) also stated that teenage pregnancy is one of the social ills that affect the society and making the development of girls-child difficult. This is due to the girl’s age and the absence of consistent means of support to care for the children and themselves when they should have been attaining their educations. Teenage pregnancy is therefore associated with school dropout and may end up girl’s dreams of achieving their educational aspirations.
According to Foumane et al (2013), Cameroon adolescents engage themselves in unprotected sexual practice and having more than one partner at very tender ages. Existing data on Cameroon indicated that adolescent represents 21% of the total population and contributed 13,8% of deliveries.
P.M. Tebeu et al (2004-2006) revealed that adolescent contribution to deliveries is 6,69% at the university teaching hospital in Yaoundé and 26,54% in Maroua Regional Hospital in the Far North Region. These findings suggest a disparity in the geographic distribution of adolescent deliveries in Cameroon.
1.1 Statement of the problem
Nowadays, teenage pregnancy has become a growing concern and therefore various causes of teenage pregnancy has become crucial. This study is aimed at assessing the knowledge of teenage girls on the causes and effects of teenage pregnancy. The observed in Livanda community that most of the young girls gets pregnant within their teenage ages. This is most often attributed to peer group pressure, lack of knowledge in sexuality education. As a result most of them end up dropping out of school.
1.2 Research objectives
1.2.1 General objectives
The main objective of this study is to assess the knowledge of teenage girls on the causes and effects of teenage pregnancy in Livanda Community, Limbe.
1.2.2 Specific objectives
The specific objectives of the study are:
- To identify the causes of teenage pregnancy among young girls.
- To examine the effect of teenage pregnancy on girls’ education.
- To determine the support mechanisms for teenagers and teen mothers.
- To examine the measures put in place to address teenage pregnancy.