Unsafe abortions among adolescents in Chibolya compound, Katete District Zambia.

By : M Zulu1 , P Banda1 , R Chipoya1

1. University Of Zambia

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Citation Style For This Article: Zulu M, Banda P, Chipoya R . Unsafe abortions among adolescents in Chibolya compound, Katete District Zambia. Health Press Zambia Bull. 2020; 4(4); pp 13


Worldwide, about 80 million pregnancies are unplanned, and 46 million end in abortions. Of these abortions, 86% occur in developing countries and the majority, 97 %, of these abortions are unsafe. In Zambia, 30% of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortions and mostly occur among adolescents aged 15-19 years old. Katete District has been recording increased cases of unsafe abortions among adolescents. In 2016 Katete district recorded 653 cases of unsafe abortions while 268 cases of unsafe abortions were recorded in 2017. Chibolya compound alone contributed 32% of all unsafe abortions among adolescents in the Katete district. This study aimed at establishing factors associated with the high incidence of unsafe abortions among adolescents in Chibolya Compound of Katete district, Zambia. 


This was a descriptive cross-section study that was conducted in June and July 2018. The study sample comprised of 366 adolescents and were conveniently selected. A structured interview schedule with questions on socio-demographic variables, knowledge on unsafe abortion, knowledge on abortion services, and family planning was used for data collection. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 23.0. A Chi-square statistical test at a 5% level of significance was used to determine the significance of the association between variables.


The study showed that most respondents, 80.6% (295) were aged between 15 and 19 years, and the majority, 89.9% (329) were single. About half of the respondents 51.9% (190) had gone up to the secondary level of education. The study showed that 162 (44.3%) of the respondents had aborted before. The Majority of whom 71% (115) had aborted once while 29% (47) had aborted twice or more. Most 65.3% (239) had good levels of knowledge on unsafe abortions while 34.7% (127) had poor knowledge of unsafe abortions. The study showed that 38.5% (141) of the respondents mentioned herbs as methods used for aborting.

The majority 81% (296) of the respondents had good knowledge of family planning. About, 33% (121) of the respondents indicated that they knew about pills, condoms, implants, herbs, and injectables as family planning methods and only about 19% (69) of the adolescents indicated that they did not know any family planning method. However, 85.5% (313) had poor knowledge of safe abortion services. The study showed that most Muslims 66.7% (8) had no history of unsafe abortion compared to 55.4% (196) of Christian adolescents. The relationship between unsafe abortion and religious affiliation was significant with a p-value of 0.021.

The study established statistically significant associations between knowledge of unsafe abortions and the level of education with a p-value of 0.002. Unsafe abortion was significantly associated with the utilization of family planning services with a p-value of 0.0001.


Poor knowledge of safe abortion services contributed to high levels of unsafe abortions among adolescents. Midwives and other health care providers must design programs to educate adolescents about the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and also the availability of safe abortion services.