Assessing unmet Sexual and Reproductive Health needs of adolescents living with disabilities in Zambia: A cross-sectional study
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The University of Zambia
Kenyatta University
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1148
Sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) thus are fundamental human rights, which should be enshrined in national, regional, and international laws as they are critical for gender equality and sustainable development. Yet young people living with disability continue to face gaps in meeting their SRHR needs. In Zambia, current national data estimates that 7.2% of Zambia’s population are living with a disability, who, among other socio-economic challenges, face limitations in access to equitable and quality health care.

The research adopted a concurrent parallel design which used both qualitative and quantitative data collection. The study was conducted in 3 provinces of Zambia (Lusaka, Southern and Western provinces) among adolescents and young people aged 15-24 years. A total of 149 adolescents and young people were recruited in the study and administered with surveys. 4 Focus Group discussions were also conducted with these adolescents to gain deeper understanding on their challenges accessing SRHR services in Zambia. 16 Key Informant interviews were conducted with health facility staff and non-governmental organizations with persons with disability.

Generally, there was a low inclination of the availability of SRHR services across all study locations with Lusaka (50.2%), Southern (30.5%) and Western (19.2%). The study also established various harmful practices directed towards adolescents and young people living with disability with stigma and discrimination being the leading harmful vice. The study also found that the main perpetrators of these harmful practices were relatives, while guardians and parents came 3rd respectively.

There is need to provide disability sexual and reproductive health services to bridge existing gaps in the provision and access of sexual reproductive health services for adolescents and young people living with disability in Zambia and the region at large.

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