World Health & Population

World Health & Population 14(1) October 2012 : 5-18.doi:10.12927/whp.2013.23050
Original Research

Knowledge of Termination of Pregnancy (TOP) Legislation and Attitudes toward TOP Clinical Training among Medical Students Attending Two South African Universities

Stephanie B. Wheeler, Leah Zullig, Robert Jungerwirth, Bryce B. Reeve, Geoffrey A. Buga and Chelsea Morroni

Abstract

Provision of safe, voluntary, termination of pregnancy (TOP) in South Africa is challenged by an insufficient number of TOP-trained clinicians. Medical students' understanding of TOP legality and their attitudes toward TOP training are indicators for future service provision. We administered a 63-item questionnaire to explore these issues at the University of Cape Town and Walter Sisulu University. Ordinary least squares regression assessed predictors of TOP legislation knowledge and training attitudes. Results: Of 1308 students, 95% knew that TOP was legal in South Africa, but few (27%) understood the specific provisions of the legislation beyond 13 weeks' gestation. Sixty-three percent desired more information about TOP. In multivariate models, female, white and sexually experienced students and students more advanced in school had better legislation knowledge (all p < .01). Attending religious services regularly (p < .01) was associated with lack of support for TOP training, whereas being in a relationship (p < .01) was associated with support for TOP training.

 

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