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Making Family Planning Services Relevant to Adolescents: Perspectives from Rural Communities in Central Ghana

by on September 30, 2015

Making Family Planning Services Relevant to Adolescents: Perspectives from Rural Communities in Central GhanaIn lower middle-income countries like Ghana, it is common to find low contraceptive use among adolescents and correspondingly high pregnancy rates in young women. The use of contraceptives prevents maternal, neonatal, and infant deaths, but in most lower middle-income countries, socio-cultural practices inhibit their use by adolescents who may want to prevent pregnancy. Increasing access to family planning among adolescents is therefore an important means of reducing maternal, neonatal, and infant mortality.

This article seeks to provide contextually relevant approaches to satisfying the family planning needs of adolescents. With support from MEASURE Evaluation, the study authors employed a qualitative study design from an interpretive paradigm to understand societal attitudes towards family planning delivery to adolescents. This helped reveal contextually appropriate ways of providing family planning. Focused group discussions and in-depth interview techniques were used to collection data and insights from adolescents, relevant community opinion leaders, and family planning and health services providers. Themes that emerged from data analysis on “perspectives on family planning care delivery to adolescents” and “best ways in addressing adolescents’ family planning needs” are presented, followed by discussion of the issues that emerged.

A significant and encouraging finding of the study was that opinion leaders and healthcare providers viewed family planning as a means to protect adolescents against pregnancy and its complications. A key recommendation is for policy makers and political leaders to enact legislation that enables adolescents to access youth-friendly family planning services in appropriate places and times.

Access this article and a related article, Family Planning Needs of Adolescents in Predominantly Rural Communities in the Central Part of Ghana.

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