Health providers' perceptions of adolescent sexual and reproductive health care in Swaziland

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Abstract

Aim

To explore health providers' perceptions of adolescent sexual and reproductive healthcare services in Swaziland.

Methods

Fifty-six healthcare providers, working in 11 health clinics in Swaziland in 2005, were surveyed using a semi-structured questionnaire. The data were analysed by descriptive statistics and content analysis to identify key themes.

Findings

Most participants were women with a mean age of 36 years and a mean number of 6 years in the profession. Services provided included STIs/HIV/AIDS advice, pre- and post-test counselling and testing on HIV, contraceptives and condom use. Half of the nurses/midwives had no continued education and lacked supervision on adolescent sexual and reproductive health care. The majority had unresolved moral doubts, negative attitudes, values and ethical dilemmas towards abortion care between the law, which is against abortion, and the reality of the adolescents' situation. Forty-four wanted to be trained on post-abortion care while eight on how to perform abortions. Twenty-six wanted the government to support adolescent-friendly services and to train heathcare providers in adolescent sexual and reproductive health services.

Conclusion

The curricula within nursing and midwifery preservice education need to be reviewed to incorporate comprehensive services for adolescents. There is need for provision of comprehensive services for adolescents in Swaziland and appropriate youth-friendly services at all levels. There is need for nurse/midwifery participation, advocacy and leadership in policy development.

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