Health Promot Perspect. 2020;10(4): 325-337.
doi: 10.34172/hpp.2020.51

Scopus ID: 85098987449
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Systematic Review

The prevalence of pregnancy among adolescent girls and young women across the Southern African development community economic hub: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Clarence S. Yah 1,2* ORCID logo, Sithembiso Ndlovu 1, Alison Kutywayo 1, Nicolette Naidoo 1, Tshepo Mahuma 1, Saiqa Mullick 1

1 Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (Wits RHI), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
2 School of Health Systems and Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Despite the high rate of HIV infections, there is still high rate of early unprotected sex, unintended pregnancy, and unsafe abortions especially among unmarried adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) 10-24 years of age in sub Saharan Africa. AGYW face challenges in accessing health care, contraception needs, and power to negotiate safer sex. This study aimed to estimate the rate of pregnancy among AGYW aged 10-24, 10-19 and 15-19 years in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) economic region.

Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis was used to describe the prevalence of pregnancy among AGYW in 15 SADC member countries between January 2007 and December2017. The articles were extracted from PubMed/MEDLINE, African Index Medicus, and other reports. They were screened and reviewed according to PRISMA methodology to fulfil study eligibility criteria.

Results: The overall regional weighted pregnancy prevalence among AGYW 10-24 years of age was 25% (95% CI: 21% to 29%). Furthermore, sub-population 10-19 years was 22% (95% CI:19% to 26%) while 15-19 years was 24% (18% to 30%). There was a significant heterogeneity detected between the studies (I=99.78%, P < 0.001), even within individual countries.

Conclusion: The findings revealed a high pregnancy rate among AGYW in the SADC region. This prompts the need to explore innovative research and programs expanding and improving sexual and reproductive health communication to reduce risk and exposure of adolescents to early planned, unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, SRHR challenges, access to care, HIV/STIs, as well as other risk strategies.

Keywords: Pregnancy, Adolescents, Prevalence, Systematic review, Southern Africa
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Submitted: 10 Feb 2020
Revision: 29 Mar 2020
Accepted: 29 Mar 2020
ePublished: 07 Nov 2020
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