Knowledge and Attitudes Concerning Sexual and Reproductive Health among In-School Adolescents in the Gambia

Download Article

DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.10.02.Art012

Authors : Alphonsus Rukevwe Isara, Phebian Ina Grant Sagnia, Burama L. J. Jammeh


Adolescents and youth are individuals who are in the phase of life that separates early childhood and adulthood, a period that requires special attention and protection. This study was carried out to assess the baseline knowledge and attitudes concerning sexual and reproductive health among in-school adolescents in Greater Banjul area in Region 1, The Gambia. This cross-sectional study was carried out among 1505 in-school adolescents selected from secondary schools by systematic sampling technique. Data was collected using a structured, interviewer-administered questionnaire. A total of 1388 valid questionnaire (92.2% response rate) was analyzed. The age of the adolescent ranged from 13 – 19 years, with a mean age of 16.5 ± 1.9 years. A higher proportion of them, 816 (58.8%), were females, concerning HIV prevention, a higher proportion mentioned correct use of condoms during sexual intercourse, 930 (67.0%), and having only one sexual partner, 781 (56.2%). Only 511 (36.8%) mentioned abstinence. The predominant contraceptive methods mentioned by adolescents were condom 1192 (85.9%), followed by oral contraceptive pills 735 (53.0%) and injectable 586 (42.2%). Almost half, 680 (49.0%), agreed that young people who carry contraceptives with them are promiscuous or unfaithful, while only 393 (28.3%) disagreed with this. About the same proportion agreed, 582 (41.9%) and disagreed with 557 (40.1%) that using a contraceptive is a sign of not trusting one’s partner. The knowledge and attitudes concerning sexual and reproductive health were poor among in-school adolescents in studied. There is a need for an all-inclusive, comprehensive sexuality education to be implemented in all secondary schools in The Gambia.

Keywords: Attitudes, In-school adolescents, Knowledge, Sexual and reproductive health.


[1] United Nations Population Fund, 2014, The power of 1.8 Billion Adolescents, Youth and The Transformation of The Future,

[2] United Nations Children’s Fund, 2011, The state of the world’s children. Adolescence An age of opportunity, ISBN:978.92.806.4556.2.

[3] Kariba, F., 2020, The Burgeoning Africa Youth Population: Potential or Challenge? Belgium: Cities Alliance,

[4] The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBOS) and ICF International, 2014, The Gambia Demographic and Health Survey 2013, Banjul, The Gambia, and Rockville, Maryland, USA: GBOS and ICF International,

[5] Paul-Ebhohimhen, V. A., Poobalan A, Teijlingen, E. R., 2008, A systematic review of school-based sexual health interventions to prevent STI/HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, BMC Public Health, 8, Doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-1188-1184.

[6] Sagnia P. I. G., Gharoro, E. P., Isara, A. R., 2020, Adolescents-Parent Communication on Sexual and Reproductive Health Issues among Secondary School Students in Western Region 1 of The Gambia, African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine, 12(1), a2409, Doi: 10.4102/ phcfm. v12i1.2409.

[7] Dessie, Y., Berhane, Y., Worku, A., 2015, Parent-Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Communication Is Very Limited and Associated with Adolescent Poor Behavioral Beliefs and Subjective Norms: Evidence from a Community Based Cross-Sectional Study in Eastern Ethiopia, Plos One, 10(7), e0129941, Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0129941.

[8] The Gambia Bureau of Statistics, 2019, The Gambia Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2018, Survey Findings Report. Banjul, The Gambia: The Gambia Bureau of Statistics,

[9] Republic of The Gambia National Reproductive Health Policy, 2007 – 2014,

[10] United Nations Population Fund, Gambia Government, 2000, Report on the National survey on Adolescent/Youth Health. Banjul: Government of the Gambia,

[11] Gambia Bureau of Statistics, 2016,

[12] Cochran, W. G., 1977, Sampling Techniques, 3rd ed., New York, John Wiley and Sons.

[13] Ndongmo, T. N., Ndongmo, C. B., Michelo, C., 2017, Sexual and reproductive health knowledge and behavior among adolescents living with HIV in Zambia: a case study, Pan African Medical Journal, 26:71, Doi: 10.11604/pamj.2017.26.71.11312.

[14] Govender, D., Naidoo, S., Taylor, M., 2019, Knowledge, attitudes and peer influences related to pregnancy, sexual and reproductive health among adolescents using maternal health services in ugu, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa, BMC Public Health, 19, 928, Doi: 10.1186/s12889-019-7242-y.

[15] Finlay, J. E., Assefa, N., Mwanyika-Sando, M., Dessie, Y., Harling, G., Njau, T., Chukwu, A., Oduola, A., Shah, I., Adanu, R., Bukenya, J., 2020, Sexual and reproductive health knowledge among adolescents in eight sites across sub-Saharan Africa, Trop Med Int Health, 25(1), 44-53, Doi: 10.1111/tmi.13332.

[16] Cortez, R., Seemeen, S., Edmore, M., Oluwole, O., 2016, Adolescent Fertility and Sexual Health in Nigeria. Knowledge Brief. Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice, World Bank, Washington, DC,

[17] Muanda, F. M., Gahungu, N. P., Wood, F., Bertrand, J. T., 2018, Attitudes toward sexual and reproductive health among adolescents and young people in urban and rural DR Congo, Reproductive Health, 15, 74, Doi: org/10.1186/s12978-018-0517-4.

[18] Ahinkorah, B, O., Hagan, J. E. Jr., Seidu, A-A., Sambah, F., Adoboi, F., Schack, T., et al, 2020, Female adolescents’ reproductive health decisionmaking capacity and contraceptive use in sub-Saharan Africa: What does the future hold?, Plos One, 15(7), e0235601, Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0235601.

[19] Wangamati, C. K., 2020, Comprehensive sexuality education in sub-Saharan Africa: adaptation and implementation challenges in universal access for children and adolescents, Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, 28(2), 56-61, DOI: 10.1080/26410397.2020.1851346.

[20] Gaferi, S. M., Al-Harbi, M. F., Yakout, S. M., Soliman, A. T., 2018, Knowledge, attitude and practice related to reproductive health among female adolescents, Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 2018, 8(8), 53-65, Doi: 10.5430/jnep.v8n8p53.

[21] Abdul-Wahab, I., Nungbaso, A. M., Nukpezah, R. N., Dzantor, E. K., 2021, Adolescents Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Survey of Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices in the Tamale Metropolis, Ghana, Asian Research Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, 6(1), 31-47, Article no., ARJGO.71989.