Understanding sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents: evidence from a formative evaluation in Wakiso district, Uganda

Type Journal Article - Reproductive health
Title Understanding sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents: evidence from a formative evaluation in Wakiso district, Uganda
Volume 12
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://www.reproductive-health-journal.com/content/pdf/s12978-015-0026-7.pdf
Introduction: Adolescents are frequently reluctant to seek sexual and reproductive health services (SRH). In Uganda,
adolescent health and development is constrained by translation of the relevant policies to practice. Recent studies
done in central Uganda have shown that there is need for a critical assessment of adolescent friendly services (AFS) to
gain insights on current practice and inform future interventions. This study aimed to assess the sexual reproductive
health needs of the adolescents and explored their attitudes towards current services available.
Methods: A qualitative study was conducted in Wakiso district, central Uganda in September 2013.Twenty focus
group discussions (FGDs) stratified by gender (10 out-of-school, and 10 in-school), were purposefully sampled. We
used trained research assistants (moderator and note taker) who used a pretested FGD guide translated into the local
language to collect data. All discussions were audio taped, and were transcribed verbatim before analysis. Thematic
areas on; adolescent health problems, adolescent SRH needs, health seeking behaviour and attitudes towards services,
and preferred services were explored. Data was analysed using atlas ti version 7 software.
Results: Our results clearly show that adolescents have real SRH issues that need to be addressed. In and out-of-school
adolescents had sexuality problems such as unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), defilement,
rape, substance abuse. Unique to the females was the issue of sexual advances by older men and adolescents. We
further highlight RH needs which would be solved by establishing adolescent friendly clinics with standard
recommended characteristics (sexuality information, friendly health providers, a range of good clinical services such as
post abortion care etc.). With regard to health seeking behaviour, most adolescents do not take any action at first until
disease severity increase.
Conclusions: Adolescents in Uganda have multiple sexual and reproductive health needs that require special focus
through adolescent friendly services. This calls for resource support in terms of health provider training, information
education and communication materials as well as involvement of key stakeholders that include parents, teachers
and legislators.

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