Organising adolescent and youth friendly RH services
Stop reading for a moment and think of your past experience. How did you organise and start providing adolescent- and youth-friendly reproductive health (AYFRH) services at your health facility?
In order to organise AYFRH services it is important to start with a needs assessment of the adolescent and youth reproductive services at the health facility.
Steps in organising AYFRH services
- Conduct a needs assessment of adolescent and youth services provided at the health facility
- Assess whether the health professionals are trained to provide AYFRH services and find out what materials are available in the health facility
- Identify existing problems in providing RH service for young people
- Develop proposals to solve the problems identified
- Present an action plan to implement the proposals.
We will now show you how you go about each of the above five steps.
Step 1: Conducting a needs assessment of existing services at the health facility
You use a needs assessment tool to collect the required information on the services already provided. It will help you identify existing problems and the people and materials available to provide RH services for young people. In addition, the needs assessment tool will help you collect information on how the health facility keeps track of data on AYRH services provided. Overall, the tool will help you determine whether the facility has youth-friendly characteristics.
What are the characteristics of AYFRH services?
The major characteristics of AYFRH services include:
- Convenient hours
- Convenient location
- Adequate space and sufficient privacy
- Availability of peer education and a counselling programme
- Affordable fees for the service
- Involves young people in the provision of information and services
- Informs the community about services for AYRH
- Availability of health professionals trained in AYFRH services
- Materials available for AYFRH service provision
As you saw earlier there are about 11 questions related to AYFRH service categorised under the following main headings:
- Materials/supplies and services
- Training of health professionals
- Involvement of the young people and the community
- Convenience of the location and service hours
Step 2: Assess whether the health professionals are trained to provide AYFRH services and find out what materials are available in the health facility
How will you carry out step 2?
The information that you want should be gathered using a needs assessment tool.
Step 3: Identifying problems related to AYFRH
An assessment tool is used like any other tool to enable you to carry out a task (e.g. a spoon is a tool that can be used to stir food in a cooking pot). Use an assessment tool to collect information about the services that are available at your health facility. If you have worked for sometime in the health facility, you will be familiar with the facilities and you can be the source of information for the assessment. If you are a newcomer to the facility and there are other health professionals you should talk to them and collect the information jointly.
Based on the information you collect, use the table below to categorise the problems you found. Copy the table into your study diary and show this to your Tutor.
Table: Problems identified.
|Materials and services||Training of health professionals||Involvement of the young people and the community||Convenience of the location and service hours|
Steps 4: Developing a proposal
Now you should develop a proposal to show how you are going to solve the problems you identified in your assessment. You may not be able to respond to all of the problems you have identified. Therefore you should prioritise the problems based on the importance of the problem and the resources you have or you could acquire. If you can't address the problems at your level, the proposal would help you request support from a higher health facility or district health office.
The proposal should have the problems identified (it is good if you have prioritised the problems and put only two or three priority problems in your proposal). You need to include in your proposal what you want to achieve by addressing the identified problem-we usually call this the objective. You may have different ways of achieving your objectives -- we call these ways strategies -- and it is good also to indicate your strategies in your proposal.
You may need to do one or more activities for each of your prioritised problems. You should put the major activity for each problem in your proposal. Addressing some of your identified problems may require resources; if you think you need resources for your priority problems, indicate in your proposal what resources you need.
Finally, you should include the time within which you would like to accomplish your proposed activities. Below is a form that is suitable for developing a proposal. It has been completed to show you how you can use it. For example, let us say that when you conducted your needs assessment you saw that the health facility had no health education materials on contraceptives. You decided to prioritise this as a major problem and used a form to develop your proposal.
Form for developing a proposal
Problem: Materials and services
No health education materials on contraception available at the health facility
|Objective||Make health education materials on contraceptives available at the health facility|
|Strategy||Mobilise support from the district health office, health facility and NGOs working in the community
|Activity||Collect available health education materials|
|Resource||Transport and perdiem cost to travel to the district health office and health facility|
Step 5: Developing an action plan
With the proposal it is useful to develop an action plan for each problem that you have identified. The action plan is a very simple tool which will help you organise yourself to respond to the problems to AYFRH service provision at your health facility. In the action plan you put very specific actions. The activities you have put in the proposal may be more general activities. The table below shows a form that you can use to help you develop an action plan. You need to indicate in your action plan by whom and when the specific action will be carried out. Just as for the proposal this table has been completed for the problem identified in the needs assessment.
|Problem||Action Required||Person responsible||Date to be carried out|
|Lack of health education materials on contraceptives at the health facility||
Collecting health education materials
Request both orally and through formal letter that
(i) the district health office
(ii) the NGO working in the community (if any)
(iii) the health facility provides you with health education materials on contraceptives
|Health Professional||September 1st 2014|