All young people, including those with special needs and from the most vulnerable groups, have the right to quality health care services. Unfortunately, this right is not a reality, particularly in the case of sexual and reproductive health services. Many youth in need of sexual and reproductive health care may either decline or be denied access to health services for a variety of reasons: Providers are often biased and do not feel comfortable serving youth who are sexually active; youth do not feel comfortable accessing existing services because they are not “youth-friendly” and may not meet their needs; and, often, community members do not feel that youth should have access to sexual and reproductive health services.
To address provider and site bias toward serving youth, EngenderHealth created a training curriculum intended to sensitize all staff at a health care facility on the provision of youth-friendly services. The curriculum was created as a result of the participatory work that we have been doing with youth in Nepal to address the needs of all levels of providers at different service-delivery settings. The curriculum has been field-tested and used in Nepal, Russia, Mongolia, and the United States.
Youth-Friendly Services allows staff to reflect upon and assess their own beliefs about adolescent sexuality while ensuring that those values and attitudes do not compromise the basic sexual and reproductive health rights to which youth are entitled. The curriculum also helps providers understand cross-cultural principles of adolescent development and health needs specific to youth. Once participant knowledge, attitudes, and skills are improved, sites conduct a self-assessment on the youth-friendliness of their services and create an action plan for specific improvements.
Download the entire curriculum (PDF, 922 KB)