Healthcare seeking behaviour and utilization of reproductive health services among out-of-school female adolescents in the Kintampo municipality

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October, 2019
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Female adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 represent an important sub-group of the population of Ghana. With the resurgence of STIs and unwanted pregnancy among adolescents, interest in reproductive health problems is gradually gaining attention. Adolescents have insufficient knowledge on how to protect themselves from pregnancies and STIs. Although both male and female adolescents have many reproductive health challenges, the female adolescents have additional burdens that are gender and sex specific. It was therefore the main aim of the study is to assess the health seeking behavior (HSB) and utilization of reproductive health services (RHS) among female adolescents who are out-of-school in the Kintampo Municipality, with specific objectives being to assess the HSB among out-of-school female adolescents in Kintampo; to assess the influence of culture, values and belief systems on HSB among out-of-school female adolescents; to determine the health provider related factors influencing HSB and to assess the factors influencing the use of RHS among out-of-school female adolescents in Kintampo. The research design used was a cross-sectional survey design. The main target of the research group were out-of-school female adolescents. Questionnaires which were administered to obtain information from the respondents for the purpose of the study. The results showed that approximately72.% of the female adolescents in the municipality do not know about family planning services and so do not make maximum use of them. According to them, their religion and age does not permit them to access family planning services. The ability to ensured confidentiality and privacy were found to facilitate the ability of adolescents to seek and utilize RHS in the current study from the health facilities. During an assessment of their reproductive health seeking behavior within the last six to twelve months, it was identified that those who have not accessed family planning during their pregnancy is 69.9%. The study concluded that, the actions of health practitioners does not encourage female adolescents to seek reproductive health services. It was therefore recommended that, health professionals should embark on active sensitization of the youth in order to provide relevant information, education and communication (IE&C) on reproductive services that are underutilized.
A dissertation submitted to the College of Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Public Health.
Healthcare, Reproductive health services, Female adolescents, Kintampo