Emergency Contraceptives for the Prevention of Unwanted Pregnancy among the Youth in Tamale – Perspective of the Clergy

Download Article

DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.09.01.Art015

Authors : Abdulai Abdul Malik, Paul Armah Aryee


Adolescent females are prone to unintended pregnancies due to the sporadic and impromptu sexual intercourse. Under such circumstances, they are unable to negotiate for safer sex. Emergency contraceptives is vital in the prevention of unintended pregnancies in such situations, but religious communities are perceived to resist modern contrasceptive. This study sought to assess the perspective of the Islamic clergy on the use EC for the prevention of pregnancy among young the people in the Tamale metropolis of the Northern Region of Ghana. A qualitative cross-sectional approach was used for this study. An in-depth interview was conducted involving a total of three clerics, one from each religious sect of the study area to assess their knowledge of EC and perspective on its use among the youth. 2 out of the 3 clerics demonstrated good knowledge of EC, including situations in which it is used and the correct time for use. They were unanimous in the use of family planning methods for birth control but indicated that it is the sole preserve of the married. They contended that the hormonal forms including EC are forbidden in Islam but in situations of forced sex; they had no objection to its use. Overall EC knowledge and awareness level among the clerics was high but strongly opposed the use of it for pregnancy prevention in general but raised no objection to its use in situations of forced sex or incest since they opined it is no fault of the victim under such circumstances.


[1] Mohammed, F., Musa, A. and Amano, A. (2016) ‘Prevalence and determinants of unintended pregnancy among pregnant woman attending ANC at Gelemso General Hospital, Oromiya Region, East Ethiopia: BMC Women’s Health. 16(1), pp. 10–16.

[2] Vázquez-Nava, F. et al. (2014) ‘Unplanned pregnancy in adolescents: Association with family structure, employed mother, and female friends with health-risk habits and behaviors’, Journal of Urban Health, 91(1), pp. 176–185. doi: 10.1007/s11524-013-9819.

[3] WHO (2018) Emergency contraception. Available at: http://www.who.int/en/news-room/factsheets/detail/emergency-contraception (Accessed: 19 May 2018).

[4] Kassa, G.M., Arowojolu, A.O., Odukogbe, A.A. et al. Prevalence and determinants of adolescent pregnancy in Africa: a systematic review and Meta-analysis. Reprod Health 15, 195 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12978-018-0640-2.

[5] Ameyaw, E.K. Prevalence and correlates of unintended pregnancy in Ghana: Analysis of 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey. matern health, neonatol and perinatol 4, 17 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40748-018-0085-1.

[6] Coughlin J (2016): Teenage pregnancy in Ghana: Assessing situation and moving forward. www.graphic.com.gh/news/general-news/teenage pregnancy in ghana assessing situation and moving forward.html.

[7] Awusabo-Asare K, Biddlecom A, Kumi-Kyereme A, Patterson K. (2006). Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health in Ghana: Results from the 2004 National Survey of Adolescents. Occasional Report No 22. New York, NY: Guttmacher Institute.

[8] Rodriguez-Vignoli J. Adolescent fertility in Latin America and the Caribbean. nIUSSP [Internet]. 2017; May. Available from: http://www.niussp.org/article/adolescent fertility in latin America andthe-caribbeanla-fecondite-desadolescentes-en-amerique-latine-et-dans-les-antilles.

[9] Amalba, A., Mogre, V., Appiah, M.N.A., and Mumuni, W.A., (2014) “Awareness, use and associated factors of emergency contraceptive pills among women of reproductive age (15-49 years) in Tamale, Ghana,” BMC Women’s Health, vol.14(114).

[10] Ezebialu I., & Eke A., (2013). “Knowledge and practice of emergency contraception among female undergraduates in South Eastern Nigeria,” Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research, vol.3, no.4, pp.541–545,2013.

[11] Tilahun. D. F. Assefa. T., & Belachew. T., (2010). Predictors of emergency contraceptive use among regular female students at Adama University, Central Ethiopia Pan Africa Medical Journal – ISSN: 1937- 8688.

[12] GoG (2014): Child Protection baseline research, Northern regional profile, GOG, Department of children (Ministry of Gender and Social Protection, 2014] www.unicef.org.

[13] Mir A. M and Shaikha G. R (2013). Islam and family planning: changing perceptions of health care providers and medical faculty in Pakistan. Global Health: Science and Practice 1(2):228-236, DOI: 10.9745/GHSP-D-13-00019.

[14] Raza H, Sheraz A, Zafar R, Khan N, Ali H (2012). Effect of Islamic perception on family planning practices. OIDA Int J Sust Dev ;5(3):85–96.

[15] Duze, M. and Mohammed, I. (2006). Male Knowledge, Attitudes, and Family Planning Practices in Northern Nigeria. African Journal of Reproductive Health, 10(3): 53-65.

[16] Yusuf B. J. (2014): Contraception and Sexual and Reproductive Awareness Among Ghanaian Muslim Youth: Issues, Challenges, and Prospects for Positive Development.

[17] Al-Ghazali, A. H. M. (1939). Ihya’ ‘ulum-ud-din [The revival of the religious sciences] (Vol. 2). Cairo, Egypt: Mustafa Al-Babi.

[18] Vanguard Newspaper. (2012). Jonathan’s Birth Control Idea Angers Nigerians. www.vanguardngr.com/health/contraception. Acccessed on 14th July, 2013.