Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences

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Assessment of barriers to reproductive health service utilization among Bench Maji Zone Pastoralist Communities

Andualem Henok, Emwodish Takele


Background: The reproductive health (RH) needs and challenges in pastoralist area are different from elsewhere. People in this area live in very traditional settings and adhere strongly to traditional cultural values and beliefs. Some of these beliefs are known to lead to poor sexual and RH outcomes. Thus, the objective of the study was to identify barriers of RH service utilization among pastoralist communities of Bench Maji zone.

Methods: This study was conducted in pastoralist communities of 5 woredas in Bench Maji zone. Qualitative study was conducted through FGD, IDI and KII. For this study 15 FGDs, 5 IDI and 5 KII were conducted. Recorded data was first transcribed in to local languages and translated to English by experts. The data was coded and themes were identified. Finally the result was presented narratively.

Results: The major challenges of RH service utilization identified in this study were preference of female professionals, preference of home delivery, cultural influences, lack of knowledge, decision maker related barriers, and health facility related barriers. Husband disapproval was significant challenge for utilization of services. Family disapproval for adolescent RH service utilization and judgmental approach of health professionals for contraceptive utilization were also common barriers.

Conclusion: Preference of female professionals, preference of home delivery, cultural influences, lack of knowledge, decision maker barrier, and health facility related barriers were identified barriers. Therefore, awareness creation to the community, and capacity building to health professionals are recommended.

Keywords: Reproductive health, Barriers, Pastoral, Ethiopia
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