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Adolescent sexual behaviour in a refugee setting in Uganda

Bukuluki, Paul; Kisaakye, Peter; Mwenyango, Hadijah; Palattiyil, George


Paul Bukuluki

Peter Kisaakye

Hadijah Mwenyango

George Palattiyil


Children under 18 years old constituted more than half (52%) of the refugee population in 2017. Adolescent Sexual and reproductive health is an essential component of primary health care. Yet, not every refugee adolescent is able to access sexual and reproductive health services.

Using quantitative data from 356 refugee adolescents and qualitative data (17 in-depth interviews and nine key informant interviews), we examine refugee adolescent sexual behaviour in Bidibidi settlement—the largest refugee settlement in Uganda using a binary logistic regression model.

The results show that 25% of refugee adolescents in Bidibidi refugee settlement had ever had sex. After controlling for all factors, results show that refugee adolescents aged 16–18 years (OR  =  3.47; 95% CI  =  1.09–10.94), males (OR  =  17.59; 95% CI  =  4.48–69.07), not in school (OR  =  14.57; 95% CI  =  2.20–96.35) were more likely to engage in sexual behaviour than their counterparts. Refugee adolescents who do not agree that a girl cannot get pregnant if she has sex while standing up (knowledge about getting pregnant) were significantly less associated with sexual behaviour (OR  =  0.30; 95% CI  =  0.10–0.85).

Results from this study show that keeping refugee adolescents in school and providing sexual and reproductive health information are likely to delay refugee adolescents’ engagement in sexual behaviour. Therefore, there is need to promote keeping refugee adolescents in school in order to improve sexual and reproductive health of adolescent refugees living in low-income countries such as Uganda.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 11, 2021
Online Publication Date Jun 24, 2021
Publication Date 2021-12
Deposit Date Jul 15, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jul 15, 2022
Journal Reproductive Health
Publisher BMC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 1
Article Number 131
Keywords Adolescents, Refugees, Sexual behaviour, Uganda
Public URL
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