Barriers to accessing adolescent sexual and reproductive health services among undocumented migrants in South Africa: a documentary review

Barriers to accessing adolescent sexual and reproductive health services among undocumented migrants in South Africa: a documentary review

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 09:19
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Keith Mukondwa, Laston Gonah

Abstract

Adolescent sexual and reproductive health access continues to dominate the development   agenda since the historic 1994 Cairo Conference and becomes a huge public health concern for the increasing diverse of undocumented adolescents who have become an important component as irregular migration patterns and profiles shifts in South Africa. The inherent nature of irregular migration poses exposure and vulnerabilities making access to sexual and reproductive health services (SRH) imperative. Findings from this study revealed that access to SRH services among undocumented adolescents migrants is poor attributed to diverse structural, socio-cultural and financial barriers. For South Africa, conflicting health and migration policies leads to inconsistencies in service provision making it difficult for both adolescents and health service providers to strike a balance between migration and health considerations. Migration remains politically sensitive with punitive measures for those in undocumented state who are subsequently marginalized and excluded from accessing all social services, health included. Health policies on the other hand are non discriminatory, employing an all inclusive approach to all adolescents irrespective of migration status.  While the study demonstrated that adolescent SRH services among undocumented adolescent in South Africa may be poor, such findings are however inconclusive to suggest that SRH outcomes are also poor.