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

  1. Conduct a needs assessment of adolescent and youth services provided at the health facility
  2. Assess whether the health professionals are trained to provide AYFRH services and find out what materials are available in the health facility
  3. Identify existing problems in providing RH service for young people
  4. Develop proposals to solve the problems identified
  5. 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.

Discussing with young people helps to identify their needs

Discussing with young people helps to identify their needs.

What are the characteristics of AYFRH services?

Show answer

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?

Show answer

The information that you want should be gathered using a needs assessment tool.

Step 3: Identifying problems related to AYFRH

Activity

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 servicesTraining of health professionalsInvolvement of the young people and the communityConvenience 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
Time One month

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.

Action plan

ProblemAction RequiredPerson responsibleDate 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

Or

(ii) the NGO working in the community (if any)

Or

(iii) the health facility provides you with health education materials on contraceptives

Health Professional September 1st 2014
Last modified: Tuesday, 14 October 2014, 11:09 AM