Teenage pregnancies in Mozambique: the experience of “Servicios Amigos dos Adolescentes” clinics in Beira
The purpose of this article is to provide insights into the demand for pregnancy-related health services by adolescent girls and young women in Mozambique. We analysed the patient registers for the first year of operation (2014) of the Servicios Amigos dos Adolescentes (SAAJ) [Friendly Services for Adolescents] clinics in Beira, Mozambique. These registers provide details of the service demands of, and services provided to the 8 290 adolescent girls and young women who accessed the 6 SAAJ clinics in 2014. Analysis of that record, with disaggregation of the patients according to age (9 years or less; 10–14; 15–19; 20–24; 25 and older), show that 3 021 (36%) were pregnant or had previously been pregnant; most being girls in the 15–19 age band (59%). Being pregnant or having been pregnant previously was associated with dropping out of school. Of all the girls and women, 60% agreed to HIV testing and counselling; the HIV prevalence rate amongst this group was 4–5% amongst adolescents and 25% amongst women 25 years and older. A minority of the girls and women who were pregnant or had been pregnant previously agreed to HIV testing and counselling. Notwithstanding the limitations for analysis, the results were alarming: substantially high HIV prevalence rates were indicated (2% amongst 10–14 year old girls; 8% amongst 15–19 year olds; 10% amongst 20–24 year olds; and 28% amongst >24 year olds). The data from the SAAJ clinics and results pertain only to conditions in Beira. However, as the first empirical assessment of pregnancy-related service demand amongst adolescent girls and young women in the country and involving a relatively large sample, we contend that this study affirms the need for expansion of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, including HIV services, for adolescent girls and young women in Mozambique.
Keywords: adolescent health, Doctors with Africa, Friendly Services for Adolescents, HIV, SAAJ, teenage pregnancy