With high rates of early marriage, especially among girls, a significant proportion of adolescents in Bangladesh need sexual and reproductive health services (SRH), including contraceptive information and services. Married women, including married adolescents, currently have access to these services through public sector. Unmarried adolescents do not have access to SRH information and services through public sector facilities. Bangladesh has limited experience providing adolescent friendly health services; only a few NGOs provide services for adolescents, and these tend to be limited to SRH awareness-raising activities and counseling. To address this gap and ensure that adolescents throughout the country, including unmarried adolescents, have access to SRH services through public health facilities, the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Services Unit of the Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP), with financial and technical assistance from development partners, has begun establishing Adolescent Friendly Health Corners (AFHCs) at selected government facilities at district and union levels.
The Evidence Project/Population Council was asked to assess the implementation of the first of these AFHCs, including their performance and quality of services, to inform the effective scale up of the AFHC model around the country. This report presents findings from a qualitative study of ten AFHCs, with recommendations for improving the AFHC initiative going forward.
The study found that unmarried adolescent girls are using AFHCs and that AFHC users expressed satisfaction with AFHC service providers. However, the study also noted limited awareness of AFHCs and a number of challenges associated with the physical set up of AFHCs.