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Background: Unplanned pregnancy has become a public health concern globally. It has been linked to unsafe abortion and maternal mortality. According to the World Health Organization, developing countries bear nearly all the burden of the 22 million abortions and two thirds of the abortion related mortalities each year. Ghana is one of the developing countries with high prevalence of unplanned pregnancy and unsafe abortion. The Emergency contraceptive (EC) is the only female contraceptive method that offers women the opportunity to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. However, little is known about its utilization among women in Ghana. This study investigated the knowledge and utilization of EC among tertiary students in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region of Ghana.
Methods: The method adopted was cross sectional study conducted in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region of Ghana from February to April, 2016. Participants were selected using simple random sampling. A structured questionnaire was administered to 300 participants. The data was analyzed using SPSS version 21.0.
Results: Majority (85.9%) of the participants were between the ages of 15-25 years, not married (82.8%) and Christians (75.0%). Among the participants, 72.4% were sexually active and 17.8% had ever been pregnant. Among those reporting ever being pregnant, 31(72.1%) of them stated that the pregnancies were unplanned. Over 80% of the participants had knowledge on EC. Those who were sexually active had more knowledge than those who were not (p=0.026). Teachers (51.6%) and friends (41.5%) were the main source of information for the students. Only 33.3% of those who have ever heard of EC ever used it with 83.8% of them using it more than once.
Conclusion: There was a high level of knowledge of EC among participants but important gaps were identified. The Sexual activity and religion were important factors in determining the use of EC.