Community-based interventions can expand access to comprehensive reproductive health and HIV information and services for married adolescent girls (pp. 23-35)
Authors: Chi-Chi Undie, Harriet Birungi, Francis Obare, Wilson Liambila, and Ian Askew
Abstract: Early marriage is increasingly recognized around the world as a public health issue with severe health implications for girls in particular. Complications in pregnancy and childbirth, and HIV-infection are only some of the health conditions for which married girls are at increased risk. This paper presents results from an operations research study aimed at: 1) identifying a set of interventions to promote the uptake of comprehensive reproductive health (including family planning) and HIV prevention services and information among married adolescent girls; and 2) expanding access to these services among this population. We used a pre- and post-intervention design without a comparison group and implemented this study in Nyanza Province, Kenya, between 2009 and 2011. The study demonstrated that the combined use of interactive media and community health worker visitation; health information provision; and referrals, is an effective means of reinforcing reproductive health and HIV messages, and of increasing access to related services among married girls in rural settings. This method is particularly effective in expanding married adolescent girls’ access to family planning, antenatal care, delivery, and postnatal care services, and in expanding spousal support for accessing these services.