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Prevalence and associated factors of adolescent pregnancy (15–19 years) in East Africa: a multilevel analysis
Authors: Misganaw Gebrie Worku, Zemenu Tadesse Tessema, Achamyeleh Birhanu Teshale, Getayeneh Antehunegn Tesema, and Yigizie Yeshaw
Source: BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth , DOI: 10.1186/s12884-021-03713-9
Topic(s): Contraception
First intercourse
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: MAR 2021
Abstract: Background Adolescent pregnancy is a major public health problem both in developed and developing countries with huge consequences to maternal health and pregnancy outcomes. However, there is limited evidence on the prevalence and associated factors of adolescent pregnancy in East Africa. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the prevalence and associated factors of adolescent pregnancy in Eastern Africa. Method The most recent Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) datasets of the 12 East African countries were used. A total weighted sample of 17, 234 adolescent girls who ever had sex was included. A multilevel binary logistic regression analysis was fitted to identify the significantly associated factors of adolescent pregnancy. Finally, the Adjusted Odds Ratio (AOR) with 95% Confidence Interval (CI) were reported to declare the factors that are significantly associated with adolescent pregnancy. Results The overall prevalence of adolescent pregnancy in East Africa was 54.6% (95%CI: 53.85, 55.34%). In the multivariable multilevel analysis; being age 18–19 years [AOR = 3.06; 95%CI: 2.83, 3.31], using contraceptive [AOR = 1.41; 95%CI: 1.28, 1.55], being employed girls [AOR = 1.11; 95%CI: 1.03, 1.19], being spouse/head within the family [AOR = 1.62; 95% CI: 1.45, 1.82], and being from higher community level contraceptive utilization [AOR = 1.10; 95%CI:1.02, 1.19] were associated with higher odds of adolescent pregnancy. While adolescent girls attained secondary education and higher [AOR = 0.78; 95%CI: 0.68, 0.91], initiation of sex at age of 15 to 14 years [AOR = 0.69; 95%CI: 0.63, 0.75] and 18 to 19 years [AOR = 0.31; 95%CI: 0.27, 0.35], being unmarried [AOR = 0.25; 95%CI: 0.23, 0.28], having media exposure [AOR = 0.85; 95%CI: 0.78, 0.92], and being girls from rich household [AOR = 0.64; 95%CI: 0.58, 0.71] were associated with lower odds of adolescent pregnancy. Conclusion This study found that adolescent pregnancy remains a common health care problem in East Africa. Age, contraceptive utilization, marital status, working status, household wealth status, community-level contraceptive utilization, age at initiation of sex, media exposure, educational level and relation to the household head were associated with adolescent pregnancy. Therefore, designing public health interventions targeting higher risk adolescent girls such as those from the poorest household through enhancing maternal education and empowerment is vital to reduce adolescent pregnancy and its complications.