Factors Affecting Adolescents’ Access to Family Planning Services and Reproductive Health Information

Presenter: Janet Botha, University of Malawi Kamuzu College of Nursing

Background: The objectives of this study were to (1) identify factors that affect adolescents’ access to family planning services and reproductive health information, (2) explore challenges faced by adolescents in accessing family planning methods, (3) identify family planning methods used by adolescents, (4) assess knowledge levels of adolescents on reproductive health information, and (5) investigate sources of reproductive health information for adolescents

Methods:  A quantitative descriptive cross sectional research design involving 112 participants, 51 males and 61 female adolescents from seven randomly selected health facilities that provide family planning and SRH services to adolescents in Lilongwe district was utilized.

Results: Results revealed that while adolescents reported having adequate access to information, they were not using this information to access SRH care services. In addition, adolescents reported reasons for not accessing services such as viewing themselves as too young and not yet married to use family planning methods. Furthermore, lack of open discussion and cultural silence among leaders in society and parents affected their desire to use the services.

Conclusion: The study recommended that more youth centers be established in the community where free discussions on SRH issues could occur and result in greater use of SRH services.