Knowledge and use of emergency contraception: A multicountry analysis

Posted by Share-Net Intl on July 29, 2014 at 9:47 am

Globally, evidence on knowledge and use of emergency contraception from population-based data is limited, though such information would be helpful in increasing access to the method. We examined knowledge and use of emergency contraception in 45 countries using population-based survey data. METHODS: Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data on women aged 15–49 were analyzed by country in logistic regressions to identify associations between women’s characteristics and their having heard of emergency contraception or having ever used it.

Trends were examined, by region and globally, according to individual, household and community descriptors, including women’s age, education, marital status, socioeconomic status, and urban or rural location. RESULTS: The proportion of women who had heard of emergency contraception ranged from 2% in Chad to 66% in Colombia, and the proportion of sexually experienced women who had used it ranged from less than 0.1% in Chad to 12% in Colombia. The odds of having heard of or used the method generally increased with wealth, and although the relationship between marital status and knowing of the method varied by region, never-married women were more likely than married women to have used emergency contraception in countries where significant differences existed.

In some countries, urban residence was associated with having heard of the method, but in only three countries were women from urban areas more likely to have used it. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the need for broader dissemination of information on emergency contraception, particularly among low-income individuals. Variations in use and knowledge within regions suggest a need for programs to be tailored to country-level characteristics.

Author: Palermo, Tia Bleck, Jennifer Westley, Elizabeth