In Practice

Adolescent girls and young women: Policy-to-implementation gaps for addressing sexual and reproductive health needs in South Africa

E L Davids, T Kredo, A A M Gerritsen, C Mathews, N Slingers, M Nyirenda, F Abdullah

Abstract


Sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) remain inadequate – both globally and in South Africa (SA). We systematically scoped the available policies and guidelines for SRH-related policy for AGYW in SA. We found many available policies and guidelines to address issues of family planning, HIV prevention and care and antenatal and maternal care. Despite the wealth of guidance, SA’s high rates of pregnancy and HIV transmission continue unabated. Our policy review and analysis identified issues for researchers and policymakers to consider when developing and implementing programmes to improve SRH services. We suggest that considering national policies alongside evidence of what is effective, as well as contextual barriers to and enablers of strategies to address AGYW needs for SRH, are among the key steps to addressing the policy-to-implementation gap.


Authors' affiliations

E L Davids, Cochrane South Africa, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town; and Adolescent Health Research Unit, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

T Kredo, Cochrane South Africa, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town; and Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

A A M Gerritsen, Epi Result, South Africa

C Mathews, Adolescent Health Research Unit, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town; and Health Systems Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

N Slingers, Office of AIDS and TB Research, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town, South Africa

M Nyirenda, Burden of Disease Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town; and School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

F Abdullah, Office of AIDS and TB Research, South African Medical Research Council, Cape Town; and Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Keywords

Adolescent girls and young women; Sexual and reproductive health; Policy; Implementation-policy gap; Social impact bond

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(9):855-857. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i9.14785

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-08-31
Date published: 2020-08-31

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