Perception of abortion and associated female rights: use of behavior change communication strategies
Background: Developing and delivering tailored, context-specific messages could be beneficial, if delivered through acceptable and feasible channels of communication. Change in abortion-related behavior, being a sensitive and ethical issue, is difficult in developing countries like Pakistan. This study was conducted to change perceptions about abortion and associated female rights through behavior change communication strategies using religion-based elements in female attendees of Basic Health
... es of Basic Health Units of District Lahore, Pakistan. Method: An Interventional study with Quasi-experimental design was carried out at basic health units (BHUs) of District Lahore, Pakistan during 2011-12. Total 100 eligible females were included in the study after taking written informed consent. 10 out of 37 BHUs were randomly selected for imparting religion-based, tailored messages using behavior change communication (BCC) strategies. 10 females at each BHU were conveniently recruited. Knowledge and perceptions about abortion and abortion-associated rights was assessed specifically on fate of unwanted pregnancy, decision-making, health seeking, health utilization, informed choices for prevention of abortion, abortion rights and fetal rights. Knowledge and perceptions before and after BCC were assessed to measure change on a structured, self-constructed, interviewer-administered questionnaire (local language). Data was analyzed in SPSS Version 20. Results: Mean age of 100 participants was 28.15+ 5.35 SD. 72.0 % females were between 21-30 years of age. Pre-BCC and post-BCC knowledge and perceptions were significantly different in what should be the fate of unwanted pregnancy, female should take decision about the fate of unwanted pregnancy, female has a right to decide about fate of unwanted pregnancy, why female should or should not decide about fate of unwanted pregnancy, female's rights about seeking services of skilled personnel for delivery & termination of pregnancy, why female should or should not decide for seeking advice from skilled person for delivery & termination of pregnancy and decision about selecting place of delivery. The present study revealed that the intervention brought an observable percent point change in knowledge from 7.5% to more than 5 times. Conclusion: Specifically designed, tailored and contextualized messages using behavior change communication strategies can bring a significant improvement in abortion-related knowledge and perceptions of females.