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This study was an attempt to assess the factors contributing to teenage pregnancy in Buea Municipality. The objectives of this study were to determine whether poverty, awareness and low access to family planning services, peer pressure, and level of education contributing to the problem and also to solicit for suggestions on how to curb them. The purposive sampling technique was used because it enabled the researcher to include only the respondents that were needed for the study. A cross-sectional design was used to show and also help in investigating associations between risk factors and outcome of the interest.



Background to the Study

Teenage pregnancy is considered as one occurring in a young woman who has not reached her 20th birthday. This definition is applicable irrespective of the legal status of the marriage of the woman or legal age to consider an individual as adult (Domenico, 2007). About 16 million girls aged 15-19 years give birth each year, most prevalent in low and middle-income countries located in Sub-Saharan Africa. 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 (Domenico, 2007). Teenage pregnancies are a global phenomenon. The pregnancy rate among teenagers in USA was 6.78% of pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 2008. Among the countries in the Western Europe, the United Kingdom (UK) has the highest teenage conception and abortion rates (Miller, 2002).

The report presents an update on the current situation of pregnancies among girls less than 18 years of age and teenagers 15-19 years of age; trends during the last 10 years; variations across geographic, cultural and economic settings; interventions available to minimize pregnancy among teenagers; evidence for these programmatic approaches; and challenges that nations will have to deal with in the next 20 years given current population momentum. The concentration of Teenage girls aged 10 to 17 years will also change significantly, with the largest increase occurring in sub-Saharan Africa, where Teenage pregnancy is most common, and the rate of contraceptive use the lowest in the world. A study conducted in Malawi showed that 57% of teenage girls opt to risk pregnancy rather than asking a partner to use a condom. In Malawi, there is a high prevalence of casual sex among teenagers who shun condoms although they engage in multiple relationships. Scholars in the field argue that, because of the risk associated with high prevalence of early sexual behavior, low contraceptive use, and many early pregnancies, teenagers in Cameroon are an important target group for sexual and reproductive health programs. In order to prevent early age pregnancies, it is important to make sure that teenagers have the means to make informed and healthy choices concerning their sexual and reproductive health. Yet, as it stands, reproductive health and family planning services in Cameroon mainly target older married women, and Teenagers often remain largely overlooked (Miller, 2002).

 Most studies establish a cause-and-effect relationship between teenage pregnancy and inadequate antenatal care, low birth weight, and preterm birth (Domenico, 2007). On the hand, such a relationship is less obvious in adverse pregnancy outcomes such as pre-eclampsia, cesarean delivery, vaginal instrumental delivery and postpartum hemorrhage. The teenage pregnancy constitutes a public health problem in Cameroon: A proportion of 12 % and 9.3 % of all deliveries at the University Teaching Hospital (CHU) and Central Hospital Yaoundé respectively, are teenage. Cameroon has one of the highest Teenage fertility rates in West and Central Africa. According to data collected in 2004 as part of the DHS, 22.7 % of teenage pregnancy fewer than 20 were mothers of at least one child. Cameroon’s Teenage fertility rate of 138 births per 1000 women aged<19 is the highest in Central Africa. However, the country’s Teenage pregnancy rate is difficult to assess accurately, not least because national statistics on legal abortion are unreliable. They are so because of the wide differences in the local application of the law, and the discrepancies in public health data from one region of Cameroon to the other. Statistics from the Social Welfare Centre in Buea, South West Region (SWR), Cameroon indicate that 5 % of girls in Buea terminate schooling every academic year because of pregnancy (Demographic Health Survey (DHS) Cameroon, 2011).

Statement of the Problem

Teenage pregnancy and its consequences in social economic development have been increasing overtime in most developing countries irrespective of the measures to reduce it. The high social and economic costs of teen pregnancy and childbearing can have short and long negative consequences for teen parents, their children, and their community (Heaven, 2001). Through recent research, it has been recognized that pregnancy and childbirth have a significant impact on educational outcomes of teen parents. Furthermore, in the case of Buea Municipality, (Egbe, 2015) the prevalence of teenage pregnancy in Buea commented that 5% of girls in Buea terminate schooling every academic year because of pregnancy. Irrespective of these studies, still the findings on the courses of the teenage pregnancies are not the same since they differ from one another. Moreover, having no study that has been undertaken to assess the factors responsible for teenage pregnancy Buea Municipality, it demands for further study to investigate the status and causes of the problem necessary for providing desirable information to take appropriate and effective measures to solve it. Thus the aim of this study was to assess the factors contributing to teenage pregnancies in Buea Municipality.

General Objective

The overall objective was to assess the factors contributing to teenage pregnancies in Buea Municipality.

Specific Research Objectives

  1. To evaluate the relationship between poverty and teenage pregnancy in the Buea Municipality.

  2. To determine the relationship between family planning services and teenage pregnancies in Buea Municipality.

  3. To determine the influence of peer pressure and the level of education of an individual contributes to teenage pregnancies in Buea Municipality.

Research Question

  1. Does poverty contribute to teenage pregnancy in Buea Municipality?
  2. Can awareness and access to family planning services contribute to teenage pregnancies in Buea Municipality?
  3. Can influence of peer pressure and the level of education contribute to teenage pregnancies in Buea Municipality?
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