Factors influencing utilization of reproductive health services amongst young people in rift valley provincial hospital, Nakuru county-Kenya
Background: In the past, young peoples’ reproductive health services have been largely neglected, leaving them vulnerable to reproductive health problems like STI/HIV/AIDS, teen pregnancy, unsafe abortion and harmful practices. International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) 1994 endorsed the right of the young people to obtain the highest level of health care. In line with the ICPD recommendations Kenyan government put in place an Adolescent Reproductive Health and Development (ARH&D) policy to enhance the implementation and coordination of programs that address the reproductive health issues and challenges of young people. Although much has been done the uptake of Youth Friendly Reproductive Health Services (YFRHS) is still low. Objectives: The broad objective was to identify factors influencing utilization of the YFRHS; Age mostly influenced utilization of the Youth Friendly Reproductive Health Services. Sixty percent of the young people aged 20-24years utilized most of services more as compared to 30 and 10 percents of those whose age bracket were 15-19 and 10-14 respectively. Methodology: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study where 160 young people aged 10-24 years and 5 health service providers were interviewed. Data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires and Key informant interview guide. Quantitative data was analyzed using statistical package of social science (SPSS) version17.0 Qualitative data was transcribed and content analysis was carried out. Results: The study established that sex, age, level of education, type of school and youth’s awareness about existence of reproductive health facility and the services offered were significantly associated with utilization of (YFRHS) p< 0.05. 60 percent of Service providers said they were not comfortable in offering the family planning services to adolescents/youths that were under the age of eighteen years. Discussion: 31% of young people aged (20-24) utilized YFRHS more as compared to 18% of those aged 15-19 and 15%of those aged 10-14 respectively. This is in agreement with a Sendowitz (2003) and KDHS 2008/09 that revealed age influenced the uptake of YFRHS. Conclusion: Only 30% of the YFRHS were utilized. This was low largely due to unfriendliness of the reproductive health facilities to the young people. Recommendations: active sensitization of the young people on YFRHS through school health programs and other appropriate youth forums such as seminars rallies and churches.