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» Adolescents » Women » Men » Health Workers

The importance of adolescent friendly services

If you found out that a 14-year-old girl in your community was pregnant and that she was hiding the pregnancy from her parents, what would you do? What if her parents noticed her protruding belly and threatened to disown her? This is what happened to Jenny, a girl in Ghana. "I was devastated and confused," she says.

Jenny’s story is common in many parts of the world, as many unmarried adolescent girls deal with stigma and shame when they become pregnant. Adolescence is a unique time, filled with major physical and psychological changes. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to reproductive and sexual health issues and are at heightened risk for unsafe sexual and reproductive behaviours. Gender inequality, socioeconomic status and other factors can increase the vulnerability of some adolescents.

 

Our Impact

Plan International also works to empower adolescent girls as leaders of change in their communities and engages adolescent boys to be active partners of change on gender equality. Plan International’s projects will support the creation of adolescent support groups as well as adolescent savings groups to promote the health and rights of all.

Jenny is doing well these days. As a result of Plan International projects, she received the support she needed to work out things with her parents and to deliver a healthy baby boy.

"I feel very happy any time I hold my son in my arms," she says. She's motivated to finish school and to create a bright future for herself and her child.

 
Young pregnant girl

The Barriers to sexual reproductive health services

Young mother nursing baby

Adolescents like Jenny face several barriers when making decisions related to sexual and reproductive health.

They face barriers such as a lack of awareness about services, age-of-consent laws, a lack of privacy during health care visits, and taboos around sexual and reproductive health that dissuade girls and boys from seeking services or information in the first place.

Feeling afraid and unsupported in her own home, Jenny turned to her grandmother and the leader of a Mother Support Group that Plan International had helped to set up with her community.

The leader of the group, Maggie, spoke to Jenny’s parents and accompanied Jenny to her first prenatal check-up. Maggie and other community members also encouraged Jenny to complete her education after her baby was born.

Group of young mothers

The leader of the group, Maggie, spoke to Jenny’s parents and accompanied Jenny to her first prenatal check-up. Maggie and other community members also encouraged Jenny to complete her education after her baby was born.

Group of young mothers

What Plan International is doing

Plan International collaborated with Maggie, Jenny and the many community groups to provide support and to address the barriers facing girls like Jenny. Our work ensures that services are:

Equitable

All adolescent girls and boys are equally able to obtain health services, regardless of disability, ethnicity and religion.

Accessible

Adolescents are able to obtain health services that are affordable or free, that offer convenient opening hours.

Acceptable

Services offer confidentiality, privacy and nonjudgmental staff, and are delivered in an appealing and clean environment.

Appropriate

The right sexual and reproductive health services are provided to meet the needs of adolescent girls and boys.

Effective

The health services make a positive contribution to the health of adolescent girls and boys.

Because I am a girl

Because I am a girl

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