Unwanted pregnancies at the University of Nairobi are quite common and are generally terminated, reports the June issue of the East African Medical Journal.
The most common method of termination is the drinking of concentrated tea leaves or other concoctions.
The study says other termination methods include overdosing with medical drugs as well as taking the abortion drug misoprostol.
The study by Dr Dismas Ongore, a senior lecturer at the varsity’s school of public health seems to suggest abortion is an extremely casual affair at Kenya’s leading university.
“Unwanted pregnancies were common and were generally terminated,” writes Dr Ongore in the study involving medical undergraduates.
The study which had investigated the knowledge, attitudes, and sexual practices was carried out at the students’ hostels.
Other identified problems included sexually transmitted diseases including HIV alcohol and drug abuse.
The study indicates poor knowledge of sexual health with the most preferred sources of information being colleagues, student leaders, and lecturers.
However the university’s clinic was not of much help with information, the students had said. “Main barriers to receiving information from the school clinic included negative attitudes and poor practices of nurses,” they said.
An earlier study among female undergraduates at the same institution had, contrary to street claims, found them unwise about emergency pills.
The study published in the Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research by Dr Isaiah Gitonga of the University of Nairobi reported poor knowledge on emergency pregnancy prevention.
“We found that almost one-third of the 203 participants were unaware of the existence of the emergency pill,” said the study.
Of those who were aware, slightly less than half believed the pill was unsafe and that it was not something they would freely discuss with their parents.
Some students believed that emergency contraception pills reduce transmission of HIV/Aids while over 80 per cent did not know the number of times that pills can be used safely in a year.
Both studies suggest measures be taken to educate university students on sexual health issues and especially those studying medical sciences.
Health sciences students Dr Gitonga said are often consulted on reproductive issues by the general public and should be able to provide correct information.
By Gatonye Gathura