Access to safe Motherhood and reproductive health services by adolescents in selected Clinics in Lusaka

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Simbyakula, Chuma
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Background: There have been gaps in research on the level of access and use of Safe Motherhood (SM) and Reproductive Health Service (RHS) by adolescents in Lusaka. Purpose: To establish the factors that influence access and utilization of Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Services by adolescents in Zambia. Methodology: An exploratory cross sectional qualitative research design informed by the abductive research strategy incorporating quantitative research approach was chosen to ground this study. Data were collected from three health centres namely, Chelston, Chipata and Ngo’mbe clinics. Theoretical purposive sampling interleafed with maximum variation sampling was used to enlist respondents. In total there were forty (40) participants that participated in the study. In –depth interviews were conducted with thirty-six (36) were adolescents seeking a Safe Motherhood or Reproductive Health Service, three (3) Health Care Providers from the health centres and one (1) key informant from Ministry of Health and (MOH). Results: The study established that adolescents had unmet behavioural, psychological, emotional, developmental and gender-specific sexual and reproductive health needs and concerns. In addition health care providers faced considerable challenges that hampered their ability to adequately offer SM and RHS. Conclusions: The study concluded that there was a service gap in the provision of adolescent SM and RHS services. Existing health services emphasized post-exposure SM and RH as opposed to pre-exposure services. Research Policy Implications: The study recommends undertaking a qualitative survey with a larger number of adolescents to solicit for more usage of SM and RHS. There is need to develop advocacy programmes that could reach out to both the boys and girls on a larger scale throughout Zambia. Other recommendations would include strengthening of out-reach services, regular training and in-servicing of health providers, health care givers and counsellors to effectively serve adolescents. The study further recommends the need to strengthen public-private sector partnership and stake holder participation in adolescent health, continuous gathering of data on SM and RHS. All these have implications for immediate and future reproductive health of adolescents, and for bridging the SM and RHS services gap across the life span.
Reproductive health-Zambia , Maternal Health Services-Zambia