In the Gambia, adolescents and young people make up 32% of the national population.
Observations indicate that this population group lack access to quality information and services on sexual and reproductive health.
This systematic review explored some sexual and reproductive health indicators relevant to adolescents and young people in the Gambia.
published studies on some sexual and reproductive health indicators were searched in PubMed, Google Scholar and African Journals Online. Moreover, national reference documents containing relevant in-country data on adolescents and young people's sexual and reproductive health were also collected and reviewed.
Search terms for published studies focused on modern contraceptives, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) prevalence rates, availability and accessibility to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and adolescents and young people’s satisfaction with SRH services among adolescents and young people (aged 10-24 years).
The review showed that contraceptive prevalence rates among adolescents and young people in Gambia ranged from 7% to 9%. Reasons for low contraceptive prevalence among adolescents and young people included limited knowledge and access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, provider attitudes, stigma, shame, lack of money, cultural and religious misconceptions associated with contraception.
Overall, the review found limited information on STI prevalence among adolescents and young people, with a single published study reporting a prevalence rate of 8.4%.
In addition, inadequate counseling, complaints related to physical environment as well as the process of providing sexual and reproductive health services and information were significant factors associated with satisfaction with SRH services among adolescents and young people.
This review provides important baseline data that may be useful for policymakers and program managers to improve adolescents and young people's sexual and reproductive health in Gambia.
Concerns about adolescents and young people’s sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) have grown over the past years because of the unprecedented increase in the number of young people, rates of sexual and reproductive health infections, early sexual debut, teenage and unwanted pregnancies, and gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation/cutting.
Although there are policy frameworks regarding sexuality education to empower adolescents and young people with knowledge and practical skills to make safe and informed choices and exercise their rights, there is limited evidence on the effectiveness of these policy frameworks.
Close observations indicate that adolescents and young people (aged 10-24) who constitute 32% of the nation’s population, lack quality information and services on sexual and reproductive health.
This systematic review explores some sexual and reproductive health indicators of adolescents and young people in the Gambia.
The review was part of a more extensive baseline study of sexual and reproductive health of adolescents and young people in the Gambia, initiated by the West African Health Organization (WAHO).