Background: Young people have the right to make choices regarding their own sexuality, as far as they respect the rights of others. To do this, the knowledge of those rights and positive attitude in exercising these rights is critical to youth’s ability to protect them from unwanted reproductive outcomes. However, many young people do not have the information or means to protect themselves from these problems. Therefore, this study aimed to assess knowledge and attitude towards Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) rights and associated factors among high school students in Machakel District.
Methods: School based cross sectional study was employed among 421 high school adolescents in Machakel District from March16-20/2019. Stratified sampling technique was used to select study participants. Data was collected through structured self-administered questionnaires. Data processing was done using Epi Data version 3.1then transferred to SPSS version 20 software. Bivariate & multivariate logistic regression was done to assess the association of factors with student’s knowledge and attitude towards SRH rights by calculating odds ratios, their 95% confidence limits and P-value less than 5% were taken as statistically significant.
Results: Overall, more than half (55.9%) of students were found to be knowledgeable and 46% had favorable attitude towards SRH rights. Knowledge among high school students was significantly associated with being female (AOR=0.52, 95% CI= 0.33, 0.81), urban resident (AOR=3.43,95%CI=1.99, 5.93), being in grade ten (AOR=1.67,95%CI=1.08,2.58), participation in RH clubs (AOR=2.18, 95%CI=1.37, 3.47), discussion of SRH issues with parents (AOR=2.62, 95%CI=1.58, 4.33) and with friends (AOR=1.77, 95%CI=1.15, 2.74) while getting information on SRH(TV/Radio) (AOR=1.61, 95%CI=1.02, 2.54) and had access to reproductive health services (AOR=3.00, 95%CI=1.30, 6.90) were significantly associated factors with favorable attitude towards SRH rights.
Conclusions: The level of student’s knowledge and attitude towards SRH rights were found to be low. Being female, urban resident, being in grade ten, participation in RH clubs, and discussion of SRH issues with parents and friends had significant association with knowledge while getting information on reproductive health and had access to reproductive health services with favorable attitude towards SRH rights. Hence, encouraging discussions with parents and participation in RH clubs may improve the knowledge and attitude of students on SRH rights.