Assessment of the provision of sexual and reproductive health services to young people in health facilites in Wagai and Karemo divisions, Siaya District
Obong'o, Christopher O
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Young people have a right to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, to help them stay healthy during their journey into adulthood. However, several barriers make it difficult for young people to access and utilize SRH services, thereby increasing their vulnerability to unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections. These barriers relate to the availability, acceptability and accessibility of SRH services for young people. The purpose of the study was to assess the provision of SRH services to young people in health facilities in.Karemo and Wagai divisions, Siaya district and to make recommendations for improving youth friendly SRH services. The study adopted a cross-sectional design collecting qualitative and quantitative data in Wagai and Karemo divisions, Siaya district. Focus group discussions with adolescents were used to assess available and preferred sources of SRH services. An inventory of available SRH services from all facilities was collected. Interviews with health service providers were conducted to assess provider attitude. Exit interviews with adolescent clients of government health facilities were also used to evaluate adolescent satisfaction with health services. 168 adolescents aged 15-19 years, 41 service providers and 23 facilities participated in the study. None of the 23 health facilities visited provided all 21 essential SRH services with only 30% providing more than 80% of the essential SRH services. FGD participants reported lack of services and inadequate supply personnel as some of the barriers to SRH services. Despite low cost of services, other structural factors such as facility environment, marketing and provider attitude make it difficult for adolescents to utilize SRH services. Only 14% (4,932) of visits made to health facilities between October 1 sr and December 31 st 2009 were by adolescents aged 15-19 years. Majority of adolescent clients had positive perceptions about the health facility they visited with over 80% (80) of all clients saying the facility environment, waiting area and location were welcoming, comfortable and convenient respectively. 90% of the boys and 98.3% of the girls said they would come back to the facility for similar or related services. The study recommends training for service providers focusing on their biases towards adolescent SRH services. In addition, structural factors such as facility environment, marketing of available services need to be addressed.