Understanding the reproductive health needs of adolescents in selected slums in Ghana: A public health assessment

Abstract

Over the past decade, adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) concerns have increasingly been on the development agenda of the Government of Ghana. This concern has been driven by such factors as early age of sexual debut, early childbearing and prevalence of HIV/AIDS among this sub-group of the population. Increasingly, research and programme experiences have shown that it is neither feasible nor productive to focus on one isolated behavioural indicator such as providing adolescents with information and services on HIV/AIDS only without addressing the broader set of adolescent sexual and reproductive health concerns. Understanding the nature and extent of individual and group variations (for instance, place of residence and gender-based differences) and their causes, correlates and consequences is essential for designing effective programmatic responses to meet the diverse sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents in Ghana.

The overall objective of the study was to generate evidence on the knowledge, perceptions and practices regarding ASRH among slum communities in Ghana. The specific objectives were to: (1) assess the reproductive health knowledge, behaviour and perceptions of adolescents living in slum settings; and (2) examine the perceptions of parents, guardians and community members regarding adolescent sexual and reproductive health. The study was conducted in March 2013 in four urban slums in Ghana (two from the Greater Accra Region and another two from Brong Ahafo Region). Structured interviews were conducted with 1,303 adolescents aged 13-19 years and 626 parents/guardians focus group discussions held with 42 community leaders drawn from schools, non-governmental organizations/community based organizations serving youth, assemblymen, women leaders and chiefs. Key findings, and implications for adolescent sexual and reproductive health programmes, are presented.

Citation

Esantsi, S.F.; Onyango, F.; Quansah Asare, G.J.; Kuffour, E.O.; Tapsoba, P.; Birungi, H.; Askew, I. Understanding the reproductive health needs of adolescents in selected slums in Ghana: A public health assessment. Population Council, Ghana (2015) 35 pp. [STEP UP Research Report]

Understanding the reproductive health needs of adolescents in selected slums in Ghana: A public health assessment

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