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Equitable access to sexual and reproductive health for marginalized adolescents in Argentina

Date: Tuesday 30 October 13.30–15.00
Source: Forum 11
Authors: Gabriela Perrotta, Counsellor, National Ministry of Health, National Program of Sexual Health and Responsible Procreation, Argentina

Abstract

In Argentina there are equity gaps in access to health care among different regions of the country. This inequality relates to different factors: economic and social, but also cultural and of gender-related. The aim of this paper is to show the difficulties faced by adolescents of low resource sectors in accessing sexual and reproductive health care (SRHC). The paper combines the results of a study performed in a low resource neighbourhood in Buenos Aires with the findings obtained from other studies in different Argentine provinces.

Results show that gender autonomy, which is usually a challenge for young girls of poor neighbourhoods, is an important issue at the moment of considering health care access options. This approach gives a broader perspective to the traditional concept of access to health, especially SRHC, including cultural characteristics of the population and gender inequities.

Studies performed in different implementation stages of the Reproductive Health Program of Buenos Aires City, verify a change in the orientation of the programme over the past five years. This change has tended to prioritize an approach associated with gender and sexual and reproductive rights, facilitating the construction of a new reproductive health paradigm. Its implementation has changed the attitude of health professionals, improving the access of adolescents to sexual and reproductive health care. In conclusion, shaping public policies based on gender and reproductive health rights, facilitated by training health professionals and generating space for discussion among them, constitutes a valid strategy to improve accessibility and reducing gender inequity.