June 2012

Assessment of service availability and health care workers' opinions about young women's sexual and reproductive health in Soweto, South Africa 

Holt K, Lince N, Hargey A, Struthers H, Nkala B, McIntyre J, Gray G, Mnyani C, Blanchard K. Assessment of service availability and health care workers' opinions about young women's sexual and reproductive health in Soweto, South Africa.  African Journal of Reproductive Health. June 2012 ;16(2):283-93.

Young women in South Africa experience high HIV and unintended pregnancy rates. Health care workers' (HCWs') opinions about sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues impact young women's ability to access SRH services. We explored HCW opinions through interviews with a purposive sample of 29 HCWs in three primary health clinics in Soweto, South Africa and examined service availability through facility assessments. Most HCWs believed young women should not have sex before marriage and thought that young women ignore information they receive about HIV and pregnancy prevention. HCWs acknowledged outside factors influencing young women's ability to protect themselves. Most thought injectables were the most appropriate contraception for young women; all recognized the importance of condoms for dual protection. Some services were only reported to be provided to those over 18 years. HCWs may benefit from workshops providing technical and policy information and values clarification exercises highlighting the impact of opinions on service provision.