A comparative human rights analysis of laws and policies for adolescent contraception in Uganda and Kenya

Katrina Perehudoff*, Denis Kibira, Elke Wuyts, Carles Pericas, Joyce Omwoha, Hendrika A. van den Ham, Aukje K. Mantel-Teeuwisse, Kristien Michielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Background: Improving access to adolescent contraception information and services is essential to reduce unplanned adolescent pregnancies and maternal mortality in Uganda and Kenya, and attain the SDGs on health and gender equality. This research studies to what degree national laws and policies for adolescent contraception in Uganda and Kenya are consistent with WHO standards and human rights law. Methods: This is a comparative content analysis of law and policy documents in force between 2010 and 2018 governing adolescent (age 10–19 years) contraception. Between and within country differences were analysed using WHO’s guidelines “Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services”. Results: Of the 93 laws and policies screened, 26 documents were included (13 policies in Uganda, 13 policies in Kenya). Ugandan policies include a median of 1 WHO recommendation for adolescent contraception per policy (range 0–4) that most frequently concerns contraception accessibility. Ugandan policies have 6/9 WHO recommendations (14/24 sub-recommendations) and miss entirely WHO’s recommendations for adolescent contraception availability, quality, and accountability. On the other hand, most Kenyan policies consistently address multiple WHO recommendations (median 2 recommendations/policy, range 0–6), most frequently for contraception availability and accessibility for adolescents. Kenyan policies cover 8/9 WHO recommendations (16/24 sub-recommendations) except for accountability. Conclusions: The current policy landscapes for adolescent contraception in Uganda and Kenya include important references to human rights and evidence-based practice (in WHO’s recommendations); however, there is still room for improvement. Aligning national laws and policies with WHO’s recommendations on contraceptive information and services for adolescents may support interventions to improve health outcomes, provided these frameworks are effectively implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalReproductive Health
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Contraception
  • Health policy
  • Human rights
  • Kenya
  • Uganda

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