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Youth-Friendly Family Planning Services for Young People

A Systematic Review

      Context

      “Youth-friendly” family planning services, services tailored to meet the particular sexual and reproductive health needs of young people (aged 10–24 years), may improve reproductive health outcomes, including reduction of unintended pregnancy. The objectives of this systematic review were to summarize the evidence of the effect of youth-friendly family planning services on reproductive health outcomes and to describe key characteristics of youth-friendly family planning interventions. The review, conducted in 2011, was used to inform national recommendations on quality family planning services.

      Evidence acquisition

      Several electronic bibliographic databases, including PubMed, PsycINFO, and Popline, were used to identify relevant articles published from January 1985 through February 2011.

      Evidence synthesis

      Nineteen articles met the inclusion criteria. Of these, six evaluated outcomes relevant to unintended pregnancy, contraceptive use, and knowledge or patient satisfaction. The 13 remaining studies identified perspectives on youth-friendly characteristics. Of the studies examining outcomes, most had a positive effect (two of three for unintended pregnancy, three of three for contraceptive use, and three of three for knowledge and/or patient satisfaction). Remaining studies described nine key characteristics of youth-friendly family planning services.

      Conclusions

      This review demonstrates that there is limited evidence that youth-friendly services may improve reproductive health outcomes for young people and identifies service characteristics that might increase their receptivity to using these services. Although more rigorous studies are needed, the interventions and characteristics identified in this review should be considered in the development and evaluation of youth-friendly family planning interventions in clinical settings.
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