Examining the recent trends in adolescent sexual and reproductive health in five countries of sub-Saharan Africa based on PMA and DHS household surveys

Reprod Health. 2021 Jun 17;18(Suppl 1):121. doi: 10.1186/s12978-021-01111-0.


BACKGROUND: The annual collection of fertility, marriage, sexual behaviour, and contraceptive use data in the nationally representative rounds of Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA) surveys in sub-Saharan Africa may contribute to the periodic monitoring of adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH). However, we need to understand the reliability of these data in monitoring the ASRH indicators. We assessed the internal and external consistencies in ASRH indicators in five countries.

METHODS: We included countries with at least three nationally representative rounds of PMA surveys and two recent DHS: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda. Our analysis focused on four current status indicators of ASRH among girls 15-19 years: ever had sex, currently married, has given birth or currently pregnant, and currently using modern contraceptives among sexually active unmarried girls. We compared the PMA survey and DHS data and tested for statistical significance and assessed trends over time using Jonckheere-Terpstra test statistic.

RESULTS: PMA and DHS survey methodologies were similar and, where there were differences, these were shown to have minimal impact on the indicator values. The comparison of the data points from PMA and DHS for the same years showed statistically significant differences in 12 of the 20 comparisons, which was most common for sexual behaviour (4/5) and least for contraceptive use (2/5). This is partly due to larger confidence intervals in both surveys. The time trends were consistent between the annual PMA surveys in most instances in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nigeria but less so for Ghana and Uganda. However, both surveys highlight slow progress in adolescent and reproductive health indicators with major disparities between the countries.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the differences between PMA 2020 surveys and DHS surveys conducted in the same year, and inconsistencies of the PMA survey time series for several indicators in some countries, we found no systematic issues with PMA surveys and consider PMA surveys a valuable data source for the assessment of levels and trends of ASRH beyond contraceptive use and family planning for indicators of fertility, marriage, and sex among adolescent girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

PMID:34134746 | DOI:10.1186/s12978-021-01111-0