The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
HK drafted the manuscript and was involved in field implementation and data analysis of the study. NC contributed in data management, and statistical analysis. RG was involved in designing of the study and provided overall guidance to prepare the manuscript & acted as a mentor. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
In Bangladesh, 24 % of the total populations are adolescents. Twelve months intervention was implemented under Demand-Based Reproductive Health Commodity Project (DBRHCP) in two low performing areas: rural Sub-district Nabiganj (population 323,357) and an urban slum in Dhaka city (population 141,912). We evaluated the changes in knowledge of female unmarried adolescents on selected reproductive health issues over the project period in two low performing areas of Bangladesh.
A pre-post study design was adopted. Under DBRHCP, interventions were focused on training of government service providers, disseminating behaviour change materials within the targeted communities, and employing community-based health promoters (Community Support Group and Peer Promoters) to foster linkages between the community and providers. All households were enumerated. A baseline survey was conducted during November 2006 to March 2007 and an end-line survey was conducted during November 2008 to March 2009. Eight hundred female unmarried adolescents (12–19 years) were selected independently for each survey from each study area through systematic random sampling, capturing changes over the 12 months intervention period. Data was analyzed using SPSS. A chi-square test was used to assess the changes in knowledge between baseline and end-line among the female unmarried adolescents.
Female unmarried adolescents had significantly increased knowledge at the end-line about measures to be taken during menstruation like: using clean and dry cloths. Overall, two-third of female unmarried adolescents knew about Family Planning (FP) methods in both study areas but had significantly increased knowledge on injectables and condoms at the end-line. Overall knowledge on Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDs) was markedly different in the urban and rural areas, but a significantly higher proportion of female unmarried adolescents knew about HIV/AIDs from relatives and school curricula, and had increased knowledge about mode of transmission of HIV/AIDs, like: receiving blood from an HIV infected person and using a HIV infected needle or syringe, at the end-line. A significantly higher proportion of female unmarried adolescents reported sexually transmitted infection (STI) related symptoms at the end-line compared to baseline. Overall variation in knowledge about Government healthcare facilities, Non-Government Organization (NGO) healthcare facilities and private healthcare facilities was found in both study areas, but awareness was increased about the type of healthcare facilities at the end-line.
The improvement of the female unmarried adolescents’ knowledge on selected Reproductive Health (RH) issues suggest that the interventions affected RH related knowledge reported in the study. These interventions can be adapted in the health service delivery system to enhance people’s knowledge on RH issues to achieve RH for adolescents.