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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 8  |  Page : 359-364

Emergency contraceptive pills: Exploring the knowledge and attitudes of community health workers in a developing Muslim country

1 National Maternal Neonatal and Child Health Program, Race Course, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
2 Department of Community Medicine, SHIFA College of Medicine, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Azeem Sultan Mir
Training advisor, National Maternal Neonatal and Child Health Program. H-80, St-3, Race Course, Rawalpindi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: Unsafe abortion is a major Public health problem in developing countries, where women make several unsafe attempts at termination of the unintended pregnancy before turning to health services. Community health workers can act as a bridge between the community and their health facilities and can use Emergency Contraceptive Pills to significantly reduce the mortality and morbidity related to unsafe abortions. Aims: This study explores the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the Lady Health Supervisor of the National Program for Family Planning, district Rawalpindi, regarding emergency contraception pills. Materials and Methods: The cross sectional survey was conducted during the monthly meeting of Lady Health Supervisors. Self administered, anonymous and voluntary questionnaire consisting of 17 items, regarding demographic profile, awareness, knowledge, attitudes and practices, was used. Results: Insufficient knowledge, high misinformation and strongly negative attitudes were revealed. More than half did not know that emergency contraceptive pills do not cause abortion. About four fifths believed that emergency contraceptive pills will lead to 'evil' practices in society. More than four fifths recognized that the clients of National Program for Family Planning need emergency contraceptive pills. The attitudes were significantly associated with knowledge (P=0.034, Fisher's Exact Test). Conclusion: The awareness of emergency contraceptive pills is high. Serious gaps in knowledge have been identified. There is a clear recognition of the need of emergency contraceptive pills for the clients of National Program for Family Planning. However, any strategy to introduce emergency contraceptive pills must cater for the misplaced beliefs of the work force.

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