Status of reproductive health knowledge amongst High School girls in selected secondary schools, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Shonisani E. Tshivhase, Ridovhona R. Matshusa


Among all age groups, knowledge of reproductive health can prevent unplanned pregnancy and STIs. The study assessed the status of reproductive health knowledge among secondary school girls in Limpopo Province, South Africa. A cross-sectional descriptive study design was conducted among secondary school girls between the ages of 14 and 19. A total of three hundred and forty (N=340) eligible learners were selected using stratified random sampling method. A self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection and data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25. All ethical considerations were ensured throughout the study. About 184(56%) of the respondents were aged between 14 and 16 years, and 59% were grade nine and ten. The majority (72%; n=239) of the respondents stayed in rural areas and attended public schools (83%;n=274). Half (51%) of the study respondents had no idea about menstruation. Nine percent (24) of the respondents mentioned ICUD as a method of contraception. HIV/AIDS was the most common STI infection known by respondents at 52%. Oral and injectable contraceptives 72(35%) were cited as the most known methods to prevent unplanned pregnancies. The study found that respondents exposed little or lack of knowledge about reproductive health. Therefore, the Department of Education must carry out reproductive education among girls to promote reproductive health. Parents should be encouraged to explain reproductive health issues to their girl child. (Afr J Reprod Health 2024; 28 [4]: 60-70)

Full Text:



Sengupta P. Current trends of male reproductive health

disorders and the changing semen quality.

…..International Journal of Preventive Medicine.


Sartorius B, Sartorius K, Taylor M, Aagaard-Hansen J,

Dukhi N, Day C, Ndlovu N, Slotow R and Hofman

K. Rapidly increasing body mass index among

children, adolescents, and young adults in a

transitioning population, South Africa, 2008–15.

International Journal of Epidemiology. 2018 Jun


Haruna H, Hu X, Chu SK, Mellecker RR, Gabriel G and

Ndekao PS. Improving sexual health education

programs for adolescent students through gamebased learning and gamification. International

journal of environmental research and public health.


Hegde A, Chandran S and Pattnaik JI. Understanding

adolescent sexuality: A developmental perspective.

Journal of Psychosexual Health. 2022 Oct;4(4):237-

Weiss-Wolf J. US policymaking to address menstruation:

Advancing an equity agenda. The Palgrave

Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies.


Sommer M, Caruso BA, Sahin M, Calderon T, Cavill S,

Mahon T and Phillips-Howard PA. A time for global

action: addressing girls’ menstrual hygiene

management needs in schools. PLoS Medicine. 2016

Feb 23;13(2):e1001962.

Phillips-Howard PA, Caruso B, Torondel B, Zulaika G,

Sahin M and Sommer M. Menstrual hygiene

management among adolescent schoolgirls in lowand middle-income countries: research priorities.

Global Health Action. 2016 Dec 1;9(1):33032

Melaku YA, Berhane Y, Kinsman J and Reda HL. Sexual

and reproductive health communication and

awareness of contraceptive methods among

secondary school female students, northern Ethiopia:

a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2014

Dec; 14(1), pp.1-11.

Mgudlwa B, Mbengo F, Mavundla TR and Hofmeyr GJ. Selfreported preference for delivery place among women

presenting for maternal care health services at a

tertiary hospital in the Eastern Cape Province, South

Africa. Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery.

May 31;19(1):157-69.

Bell SO, Shankar M, Ahmed S, OlaOlorun F, Omoluabi E,

Guiella G and Moreau C. Post-abortion care

availability, facility readiness and accessibility in

Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire. Health Policy and

Planning. 2021 Aug 1;36(7):1077-89.

Landa NM and Fushai K. Exploring discourses of sexual

and reproductive health taboos/silences among youth

in Zimbabwe. Cogent Medicine. 2018 Jan


Hennegan J, Shannon AK, Rubli J, Schwab KJ and

Melendez-Torres GJ. Women’s and girls’

experiences of menstruation in low-and middleincome countries: A systematic review and

qualitative metasynthesis. PLoS medicine. 2019 May


Fehintola, F.O., Fehintola, A.O., Aremu, A.O., Idowu, A.,

Ogunlaja, O.A. and Ogunlaja, I.P., 2017. Assessment

of knowledge, attitude, and practice about

menstruation and menstrual hygiene among

secondary high school girls in Ogbomoso, Oyo state,

Nigeria. International Journal of Reproduction,

Contraception, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 6(5),


Govender D, Naidoo S, Taylor M. 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. 2019 Dec;19:1-6

Ajayi AI, Ezegbe HC. Association between sexual violence

and unintended pregnancy among adolescent girls

and young women in South Africa. BMC Public

Health. 2020 Dec;20(1):1-0.

Crankshaw TL, Strauss M, Gumede B. Menstrual health

management and schooling experience amongst

female learners in Gauteng, South Africa: a mixed

method study. Reproductive Health. 2020


Abajobir AA, Seme A. Reproductive health knowledge and

services utilization among rural adolescents in east

Gojjam zone, Ethiopia: a community-based crosssectional study. BMC Health Services Research.


Anikwe CC, Mamah JE, Okorochukwu BC, Nnadozie UU,

Obarezi CH, Ekwedigwe KC. Age at menarche,

menstrual characteristics, and its associated

morbidities among secondary school students in

Abakaliki, southeast Nigeria. Heliyon. 2020 May


Barros BD, Kuschnir MC, Bloch KV, Silva TL. ERICA:

age at menarche and its association with nutritional

status. Jornal de pediatria. 2019 Jan;95:106-11.

ML N, FC O, TG T. Reproductive health choices among

adolescents in secondary schools: A case study of

selected schools in Limpopo, South Africa. The Open

Public Health Journal. 2018 Jul 24;11(1).

Upashe SP, Tekelab T, Mekonnen J. Assessment of

knowledge and practice of menstrual hygiene among

high school girls in Western Ethiopia. BMC Women's

Health. 2015 Dec;15:1-8.

Ramathuba DU. Menstrual knowledge and practices of

female adolescents in Vhembe district, Limpopo

Province, South Africa. Curationis. 2015 Jan


Shoor P. A study of knowledge, attitude, and practices of

menstrual health among adolescent school girls in

urban field practice area of medical college, Tumkur.

Indian Journal of Health Sciences and Biomedical

Research KLEU. 2017 Sep 1;10(3):249-55.

Michael, J., Iqbal, Q., Haider, S., Khalid, A., Haque, N.,

Ishaq, R., Saleem, F., Hassali, M.A. and Bashaar, M.,

Knowledge and practice of adolescent females

about menstruation and menstruation hygiene

visiting a public healthcare institute of Quetta,

Pakistan. BMC Women's Health, 20, pp.1-8

Garg S, Singh MM, Marimuthu Y, Borle A, Bhatnagar N,

Basu S. School absenteeism during menstruation

among adolescent girls in resettlement colonies of

Delhi: a community-based cross-sectional study.

Indian Journal of Community Health. 2021 Mar


Parvin GA, Takashino N, Islam MS, Rahman MH, Abedin

MA, Basu M. Menstrual knowledge and perceptions

of schoolgirls in Bangladesh: do socio-economic

factors really matter? International Journal of

Human Rights in Healthcare. 2021 Oct 7

Khanna A, Goyal RS and Bhawsar R.. Menstrual practices

and reproductive problems: a study of adolescent

girls in Rajasthan. Journal of Health Management,

; 7(1), pp.91-107.

Light D, Matinhure-Muzondo N, Ferguson C, Muzondo TH

and Lungu NH. Improving students' knowledge of

puberty and menstruation in rural Zimbabwe: an

evaluation of Sesame Workshop's Girl Talk program.

Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for

Development. 2021 Jan 1;11(1):173-8.

Deshmukh V, Sandhu GK, Rachakonda L, Kakde M and

Andurkar SP. Knowledge, attitudes and practices

(KAP) regarding menstruation among girls in

Aurangabad, India and their correlation with

sociodemographic factors. International Journal of

Reproduction, Contraception, Obstetrics and

Gynecology. 2019 Mar 1;8(3):980.

Shah V, Nabwera HM, Sosseh F, Jallow Y, Comma E,

Keita O and Torondel B. A rite of passage: a mixed

methodology study about knowledge, perceptions,

and practices of menstrual hygiene management in

rural Gambia. BMC Public Health. 2019


Wasie B, Belyhun Y, Moges B and Amare B. Effect of

emergency oral contraceptive use on condom

utilization and sexual risk taking behaviours among

university students, Northwest Ethiopia: a crosssectional study. BMC Research Notes. 2012


Kagashe GA and Honest G. Knowledge and use of

contraceptives among secondary school girls in Dar

es Salaam Tanzania. Journal of Applied

Pharmaceutical Science. 2013 Jan 28;3(1):066-8.

Mesfin D. Emergency contraceptive knowledge, utilization

and associated factors among secondary school

students in Wolkite town, southern Ethiopia, crosssectional study. Contraception and Reproductive

Medicine. 2020 Dec;5(1):1-0.

Mostert K, Sethole KM, Khumisi O, Peu D, Thambura J,

Ngunyulu RN and Mulaudzi MF. Sexual knowledge

and practice of adolescent learners in a rural South

African school. African Health Sciences. 2020 Apr


Timothy S, Dimoso P and Dede K. Usage of Emergency

Contraceptives among Female Students and its

Associated Factors: Evidence from Higher Learning

Institutions in Dodoma, Tanzania.

Abajobir AA and Seme A. Reproductive health knowledge

and services utilization among rural adolescents in

east Gojjam zone, Ethiopia: a community-based

cross-sectional study. BMC health services research.


Mamilla S and Goundla S. Knowledge about menstrual

hygiene, sexual health, and contraception in educated

late adolescent age girls. Journal of Family Medicine

and Primary Care. 2019 Feb;8(2):610

Vasudeva M, Nakka R, Stock S and Ghebremichael M.

Associations between Awareness of Sexually

Transmitted Infections (STIs) and Prevalence of

STIs among Sub-Saharan African Men and Women.

Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease. 2022 Jul


Mbugua SM and Karonjo JM. Reproductive health

knowledge among college students in Kenya. BMC

Public Health. 2018 Dec;18(1):1-7.

Pascual AM, Riera JF and Sánchez AC. Behavioral

interventions for preventing sexually transmitted

infections and unintended pregnancies: an overview

of systematic reviews. Actas Dermo-Sifiliográficas

(English Edition). 2016 May 1;107(4):301-17.

Ayehu A, Kassaw T and Hailu G. Young people’s parental

discussion about sexual and reproductive health

issues and its associated factors in Awabel woreda,

Northwest Ethiopia. Reproductive Health. 2016



  • There are currently no refbacks.