BACKGROUND: Despite the high rate of HIV infections, there is still high rate of early unprotected
sex, unintended pregnancy, and unsafe abortions especially among unmarried adolescent girls
and young women (AGYW) 10-24 years of age in sub Saharan Africa. AGYW face challenges in
accessing health care, contraception needs, and power to negotiate safer sex. This study aimed
to estimate the rate of pregnancy among AGYW aged 10-24, 10-19 and 15-19 years in the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) economic region.
METHODS: A systematic review and meta-analysis was used to describe the prevalence of
pregnancy among AGYW in 15 SADC member countries between January 2007 and December
2017. The articles were extracted from PubMed/MEDLINE, African Index Medicus, and other
reports. They were screened and reviewed according to PRISMA methodology to fulfil study
RESULTS: The overall regional weighted pregnancy prevalence among AGYW 10-24 years of age
was 25% (95% CI: 21% to 29%). Furthermore, sub-population 10-19 years was 22% (95% CI:
19% to 26%) while 15-19 years was 24% (18% to 30%). There was a significant heterogeneity
detected between the studies (I2
=99.78%, P<0.001), even within individual countries.
CONCLUSION: The findings revealed a high pregnancy rate among AGYW in the SADC region.
This prompts the need to explore innovative research and programs expanding and improving
sexual and reproductive health communication to reduce risk and exposure of adolescents to
early planned, unplanned and unwanted pregnancies, SRHR challenges, access to care, HIV/
STIs, as well as other risk strategies.