Accessibility of Reproductive Health Service among Teenage Expectant Mothers Aged 13-19 Years in Madukani Ward, Dodoma Municipality, Tanzania
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ABSTRACT: Teenage Expectant mothers often lack knowledge, education, experience, income and power relative to older mothers. In many cultures, specifically in developing countries, they may also have to tolerate the effects of many judgmental attitudes, making an already difficult situation even worse. Lack of reproduction health services to address the teenagers’ needs is due to service providers being illequipped to deal with them. Teenage expectant mothers are facing various problems with regards to their reproductive health needs, including lack of information, misinformation, as well as social, cultural and economic barriers in accessing the reproductive health services, economic problems as well as cultural and social beliefs. This paper presents results from 67 expectant teenagers aged 13-19 years in Madukani ward in the Dodoma Municipality. A semi structured questionnaire was used to interview these teenage mothers. Also focused group discussion was used to collected data from these expectant mothers on issues that require a group consent. The study revealed that of all interviewed teenage expectant mothers, 65.7% were aware of the existence of the health facilities and services offered by these facilities in the study area. Among the more mentioned services offered to expectant mothers are HIV and STI’s test, vaccination, guidance on different aspects such as groups of foods and exercises, malaria prevention and treatment, and instructions on use of blood capsules were the major reproductive health services for teenage expectant mothers in the study area. The study further revealed that culture preference, illiteracy, low income and distance to health centers to be important factors that hinder teenage expectant mothers from accessing reproductive health services. Little awareness of the importance of reproductive health services to expectant mothers resulted into pregnancy complications.