Youth-friendly services in two rural districts of West Bengal and Jharkhand, India: definite progress, a long way to go.


Collumbien, M; Mishra, M; Blackmore, C; (2011) Youth-friendly services in two rural districts of West Bengal and Jharkhand, India: definite progress, a long way to go. Reproductive health matters, 19 (37). pp. 174-83. ISSN 0968-8080 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0968-8080(11)37557-X

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Abstract

It is a continuing challenge to reach rural youth in India with sexual and reproductive health services. Drawing on a large survey among 6,572 young people aged 15-24 and 264 rural health providers accessed by them in rural West Bengal and Jharkhand, we witnessed a long-awaited response to national efforts to promote birth spacing. That 31% of young, married women without children were using contraception to delay a first birth was evidence of cracks in the persistent tradition of demonstrating fertility soon after marriage. The coverage of public sector services for reproductive and sexual health is highly variable and the scope largely restricted to married women, with unmarried young women and men relying mainly on the informal private sector, and seriously underserved. Strong social norms proscribing pre-marital sexual relationships perpetuate barriers in meeting their needs. Access to contraception is affected by negative provider attitudes and reluctance to report having sex underestimates the real scale of unmet need. Yet, 30% of providers reported unmarried young women seeking abortion services. To address the needs of all rural youth, the public sector needs to expand its remit or engage with informal providers, train them to deliver youth-friendly services and give them a recognised role in abortion referral.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
Research Centre: Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
PubMed ID: 21555098
Web of Science ID: 291194700019
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/782

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