Stakeholder’s participation and access to reproductive health services among young women in makueni county; a case of Kibwezi sub county
Odhiambo, Jacob Okoth
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Enhancing access to quality health care services to vulnerable and marginalized populations such as young women is increasingly gaining momentum globally. This study aimed at examining the effect of stakeholder participation on access to reproductive health (RH) services among young women in Makueni county. The three objectives of the study were; To establish the effect of availability of RH information among young women on their access to RH services, to assess the effect of participation of young women in community health forums on their access to RH services and to examine effect of inclusion of young women in RH planning and decision-making on access to RH services among young women in Makueni county. Descriptive research mixing both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to answer to the study questions. The study was underpinned by the Arnstein’s participation theory and the stakeholders’ theory. Stratified and systematic random sampling was used to identify and target a total of 372 young women aged 18 to 24 years. 12 key informants were interviewed at county, sub-county and ward levels. Data was analyzed using a combination of the IBM SPSS techniques including frequencies, cross-tabulations, means, and descriptive ratio statistics. Findings point that RH information helped young women in seeking RH services. The results also implied that attending community health forums did not influence access to RH services among young women. On the other hand, involving young women in the planning and decision-making forums on RH improved access to RH services. The study findings are significant for health and development stakeholders to benchmark and formulate pragmatic stakeholder participation approaches on fundamental development issues such as access to RH services in order to achieve the development goals. Further research is recommended to investigate capacity of vulnerable groups such as young women to effectively participate as stakeholders in development issues including RH services. There is also need for more studies on the effectiveness of RH information channels, content and language on improving access to RH services among young women. Finally, there is need for action research and experiments on stakeholder participation approaches which can prove effective in enhancing participation of vulnerable groups such as young women.
Africa Nazarene University