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      A Systematic Review of Sexual and Reproductive Health Knowledge, Experiences and Access to Services among Refugee, Migrant and Displaced Girls and Young Women in Africa

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          Abstract

          Adolescent girls and young women are an overlooked group within conflict- or disaster-affected populations, and their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs are often neglected. Existing evidence shows that forced migration and human mobility make girls and women more vulnerable to poor SRH outcomes such as high risk sexual behaviors, lack of contraception use, STIs and HIV/AIDS. We performed a systematic literature review to explore knowledge, experiences and access to SRH services in this population group across the African continent. Two databases (PubMed and Web of Science) were searched and from 896 identified publications, 15 peer-reviewed articles published in English met the inclusion criteria for this review. These consisted of eight applied qualitative, five quantitative and two mixed-method study designs. The quality of the studies was evaluated by the mixed-methods appraisal tool (MMAT) using scores in percentages (0–100%). Available evidence indicates that knowledge of young women and girls regarding contraceptive methods, STIs and HIV/AIDS are limited. This population group often experiences gender-based and sexual violence and abuse. The access and availability of SRH services are often limited due to distances, costs and stigma. This review demonstrates that there is still a dearth of peer-reviewed literature on SRH related aspects among refugee, migrant and displaced girls and young women in Africa. The data disaggregation by sex and age should be emphasized for future research in this field.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Defining and Designing Mixed Research Synthesis Studies.

          Mixed research synthesis is the latest addition to the repertoires of mixed methods research and systematic review. Mixed research synthesis requires that the problems generated by the methodological diversity within and between qualitative and quantitative studies be resolved. Three basic research designs accommodate this diversity, including the segregated, integrated, and contingent designs. Much work remains to be done before mixed research synthesis can secure its place in the repertoires of mixed methods research and systematic review, but the effort is well worth it as it has the potential to enhance both the significance and utility for practice of the many qualitative and quantitative studies constituting shared domains of research.
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            Progress and gaps in reproductive health services in three humanitarian settings: mixed-methods case studies

            Background Reproductive health (RH) care is an essential component of humanitarian response. Women and girls living in humanitarian settings often face high maternal mortality and are vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, and sexual violence. This study explored the availability and quality of, and access barriers to RH services in three humanitarian settings in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and South Sudan. Methods Data collection was conducted between July and October 2013. In total, 63 purposively selected health facilities were assessed: 28 in Burkina Faso, 25 in DRC, and nine in South Sudan, and 42 providers completed a questionnaire to assess RH knowledge and attitudes. Thirty-four focus group discussions were conducted with 29 members of the host communities and 273 displaced married and unmarried women and men to understand access barriers. Results All facilities reported providing some RH services in the prior three months. Five health facilities in Burkina Faso, six in DRC, and none in South Sudan met the criteria as a family planning service delivery point. Two health facilities in Burkina Faso, one in DRC, and two in South Sudan met the criteria as an emergency obstetric and newborn care service delivery point. Across settings, three facilities in DRC adequately provided selected elements of clinical management of rape. Safe abortion was unavailable. Many providers lacked essential knowledge and skills. Focus groups revealed limited knowledge of available RH services and socio-cultural barriers to accessing them, although participants reported a remarkable increase in use of facility-based delivery services. Conclusion Although RH services are being provided, the availability of good quality RH services was inconsistent across settings. Commodity management and security must be prioritized to ensure consistent availability of essential supplies. It is critical to improve the attitudes, managerial and technical capacity of providers to ensure that RH services are delivered respectfully and efficiently. In addition to ensuring systematic implementation of good quality RH services, humanitarian health actors should meaningfully engage crisis-affected communities in RH programming to increase understanding and use of this life-saving care.
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              Family planning in conflict: results of cross-sectional baseline surveys in three African countries

              Background Despite the serious consequences of conflict for reproductive health, populations affected by conflict and its aftermath face tremendous barriers to accessing reproductive health services, due to insecurity, inadequate numbers of trained personnel and lack of supplies. Family planning is often particularly neglected. Methods In six conflict-affected areas in Sudan, northern Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, household surveys of married or in-union women of reproductive age were conducted to determine baseline measures of family planning knowledge, attitudes and behaviors regarding contraception. Health facility assessments were carried out to assess baseline measures of family planning services availability. Data were double-entered into CSPro 3.2 and exported to SAS 9.2, which was used to calculate descriptive statistics. The studies' purposes were to guide program activities and to serve as a baseline against which program accomplishments could be measured. Results Knowledge of modern contraceptive methods was low relative to other sub-Saharan African countries, and use of modern methods was under 4% in four sites; in two sites with prior family planning services it was 12% and 16.2%. From 30% to 40% of women reported they did not want a child within two years, however, and an additional 12% to 35% wanted no additional children, suggesting a clear need for family planning services. The health facilities assessment showed that at most only one-third of the facilities mandated to provide family planning had the necessary staff, equipment and supplies to do so adequately; in some areas, none of the facilities were prepared to offer such services. Conclusions Family planning services are desired by women living in crisis situations when offered in a manner appropriate to their needs, yet services are rarely adequate to meet these needs. Refugee and internally displaced women must be included in national and donors' plans to improve family planning in Africa.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                ijerph
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                MDPI
                1661-7827
                1660-4601
                26 July 2018
                August 2018
                : 15
                : 8
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Medical Centre of the University of Munich (LMU), 80802 Munich, Germany; masnarai11@ 123456gmail.com
                [2 ]Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 1410, Mbarara, Uganda; ekemigisha@ 123456must.ac.ug
                Author notes
                Article
                ijerph-15-01583
                10.3390/ijerph15081583
                6121882
                30049940
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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