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Adolescent-Friendly Health Services in Public Health Facilities in Lusaka, Zambia

by on June 27, 2019

Adolescent-Friendly Health Services in Public Health Facilities in Lusaka, ZambiaAdolescents have healthcare needs that are distinct from adult needs, particularly in the area of sexual reproductive health (SRH) and rights.

In Zambia, adolescents and young people represent 40 percent of the population. To increase adolescents’ access to and use of health services, the Ministry of Health developed National Standards and Guidelines for Provision of Adolescent-Friendly Health Services (AFHS) in 2009. Despite the recognition of the rights of young people to SRH information and services, adolescents still face challenges in accessing healthcare in public health institutions. Previous studies, particularly in Zambia, have focused on whether making facilities more youth-friendly will increase access and use. Because the government has already instituted AFHS, we sought to assess adherence to the standards and guidelines to identify the challenges, successes, and opportunities for strengthening adherence to the standards, thereby improving provision of AFHS and adolescent health outcomes.

This cross-sectional study was carried out in six public health facilities in Lusaka District, Zambia. Data collection entailed 11 focus group discussions (FGDs) with 70 adolescent girls and boys ages 10 to 19 years. The FGDs were intended to get information on adolescents’ perceptions of how services are provided. Interviews were also conducted with health facility staff and community members. There were 123 total study participants.

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