Globalization and the Access of Adolescents to Reproductive
Health Services in Cameroon
Adolescents are characterised by excessive risk taking
due to an undue sense of power and invincibility. They also
express a lack of confidence in adults and suspicion in
the doctrines and laws of the establishment. This may result
in their not benefiting from the health system and facilities
put at their disposal.
Cameroon, a signatory to the Alma Ata declaration of Primary
Health Care, considers health as a fundamental human right.
Reproductive health constitutes one of the major areas for
consideration by all states: indeed one of its components,
HIV/AIDS has been declared a continental disaster. The universal
finding that the majority of the new cases are found among
the youths makes them a high risk group for which appropriate
interventions need to be put in place. And this in the face
of globalization! i.e. the flow of information, ideas, goods,
capital and people across political and geographic boundaries.
Some believe that globalization would increase the rich:
poor divide and therefore make it very hard for the have-nots
to improve on their situation.
The goal of the study is to assess the effect of globalization
on the access to reproductive health services and care and
to identify other key factors that influence access to services
among Cameroonian adolescents such as: individual, familial,
community, socio-economic, cultural and institutional. Health
personnel will provide information on institutional factors.
About 5000 adolescents and 500 health workers will participate
in the study which will be conducted in the ten provinces
of the country. Data will be collected through observation,
questionnaires and focus group discussions. The data will
be analysed taking into consideration rural, urban, school,
out of school, as well as gender elements.
The main outcome of the study will be the identification
of factors that will be used to start a reproductive health
programme for adolescents nationwide, which addresses specific
concerns related to equity, gender, and globalisation. The
programme will be developed with the adolescents through
a participatory approach, with appropriate representation
of all categories. A process evaluation will be put in place
to enable us identify the major elements that would be used
for the elaboration and implementation of the reproductive
health plan for adolescents.
Discussions on the NCS theme " Challenges of Health
in a Border-less World " would help us identify those
aspects of globalization which influence access to reproductive
health services by adolescents. Would the trend towards
the market economy favour those who insist on "fees
for services by all"? Would the need for transparency
result in less regard for confidentiality among persons
suffering from diseases which may still be considered "disgraceful"
by a significant proportion of the community? What about
the free exchange and flow of goods? Would this result in
the presence of the best goods everywhere?
Fundamental to these are the concerns that have been advanced
by some whereby "globalization" would be harmful
to the tenets of Primary Health Care. Since globalization
is a reality, our avowed goal is to make it work towards
the improvement of the access of adolescents to health services