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Emergency Contraception: Knowledge and Attitudes of Family Physicians of a Teaching Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research Bangladesh (ICDDR,B)
Publication Date
  • Health
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Descriptive Studies
  • Emergency Contraception
  • Family Physician
  • Family Planning
  • Knowledge
  • Attitudes
  • Practice
  • Perceptions
  • Pakistan
  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Philosophy


This study was conducted to assess the knowledge of family medicine providers and their attitudes towards emergency contraception in a teaching hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. A 21-item questionnaire containing the demographic profile of respondents and questions concerning knowledge of and attitudes towards emergency contraception was distributed among participants. In total, 45 interviews were conducted, with a response rate of 100%, with faculty physicians (33%), residents (27%), medical officers (40%), 36% male and 64% female physicians; of them, the majority (64%) were married. Although the large majority (71%) of the respondents reported considerable familiarity with emergency contraception, objective assessment revealed deficiencies in their knowledge. About 38% of the participants incorrectly chose menstrual ir­regularity as the most common side-effect of progestin-only emergency contraception pills, and only 33% answered that emergency contraception was not an abortifacient while 42% were unsure. Forty percent of the physicians prescribed emergency contraception in the past. The large majority (71%) of the physicians were familiar with emergency contraception, yet deficiencies in knowledge inaccuracies were identified. Barriers to its use were identified as ‘it will promote promiscuity' (31%), religious/ethical reasons (27%), liability (40%), teratogenicity (44%), and inexperience (40%). Overall attitudes regarding emergency con­traception were positive; however, most (82%) physicians were unsatisfied with their current knowledge of emergency contraception, and there was a discrepancy between perceptions of physicians and actual knowledge. Interventions providing education to family physicians regarding emergency contraception is strongly recommended. Key words: Cross-sectional studies; Descriptive studies; Emergency contraception; Family physician; Family planning; Knowledge, attitudes, practice; Perceptions; Pakistan doi: 10.3329/jhpn.v27i3.3376 J Health Popul Nutr 2009 Jun;27(3):339-344

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