Identifying and overcoming barriers to adolescent sexual and reproductive health: perspectives and practices of health, education and welfare workers

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Pacific Journal of Reproductive Health, 2015, 1 pp. 4 - 13
Issue Date:
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Introduction: Young people are regarded as one of the most vulnerable groups in the Solomon Islands (SI). While improving adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) and rights is acknowledged as being critical to the wider development agenda of SI, there is little known about ASRH service delivery. Aims: To identify barriers to ASRH service provision in SI, and explore opportunities to effectively address them. Methods: In this mixed methods study, we conducted focus group discussions, semi-structured interviews and a specialised survey, which provided a snapshot of ASRH skills and service provision with 147 teachers, principals, youth and health workers. Stakeholder meetings were held at the beginning and end of data gathering to generate stakeholders’ suggestions on policy recommendations. Results: Survey responses by health and education workers identified ambivalent attitudes toward providing ASRH services, knowledge gaps and inadequate adolescent specific training. The workers identified several barriers to young people accessing ASRH services including cultural issues, poor access to information, resource and infrastructure constraints, uncertainty about professional roles, and a poor understanding of policy related to youth and ASRH. A number of strategies to overcome these barriers were identified: including ASRH in education, welfare and health sector job descriptions; investing in training in ASRH and counselling skills; improving supply of contraceptives; and building sustainable partnerships between sectors. Conclusion: Improving ASRH provision in the SI is possible given the right support from government and global agencies; and a commitment to collaborative inter-sectoral action.
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