Utilization of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Services among Youth Living on the Streets in Nakuru County, Kenya
Lumonje, Irene Khavere
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The access and utilization of sexual and reproductive health care is a crucial concern surrounding the advancement of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and rights. Making clinical services attractive to the younger generation has remained a challenge. Sexual and reproductive health services remain underutilized by the youth living on the streets. Unfortunately, this group is exposed to a very hostile environment on the streets, has a highly mobile and unprotected lifestyle often resulting in early sexual debut, physical and drug abuse, sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. Recent years have seen a sharp rise in these youth on the streets. Toward the Kenya government goal of attainment of Universal health for all Kenyans, there is a need to explore the unique SRH needs of this group. This study sought to investigate the utilization of SRH services among the youth living on the streets. A descriptive survey research study was done in Nakuru town in Nakuru County, Kenya. One hundred and eight study participants were recruited using cluster sampling from five sites identified. Three core research tools used to collect data were the researcher administered questionnaires, group discussion, and key informant interviews. Data were analyzed through statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 21.0. The qualitative data were analyzed using a content approach. The study found out that these youths knew their SRH needs and inadequate information on the various SRH services being offered in the health facilities. The utilization of SRH services is low at 25.9%. A majority (84.1%) had experienced SRH problems. Most (75.07%) did not know the types of reproductive health services offered. Demographic factors such as; whether parents are employed or not (p 0.018), and youth’s level of education (p 0.005) were associated with the utilization of the SRH services. Economic factors like the affordability of SRH services (p 0.005), costs charged by SRHF (0.000), staff’s attitude in the health facility (p 0.017) and availability of health facility (0.017) were associated with utilization of SRH services. Recommendations include the provision of information for YLOS on SRH need and the available SRH services to increase utilization, efforts should be made to establish and strengthen Youth friendly service Centre in Bondeni where a large number of the YLOS seek reproductive health services and need to increase funding for reproductive health services to these facilities so as all the services can be offered free of charge to the YLOS. This will further increase access and utilization as most of them do not have reliable sources of income.