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Washington, DC, United States

Hardee K.,Reproductive Health Program Population Council | Gay J.,What Works Association | Gay J.,Center for Policy and Advocacy | Croce-Galis M.,What Works Association | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes

BACKGROUND: Adolescent girls face unique challenges in reducing their risk of acquiring HIV because of gender inequalities, but much of HIV programming and evaluation lacks a specific focus on female adolescents. METHODS: This article, based on a review of 150 studies and evaluations from 2001 to June 2013, reviews evidence on programming for adolescents that is effective for girls or could be adapted to be effective for girls. RESULTS: The evidence suggests specific interventions for adolescent girls across 3 critical areas: (1) an enabling environment, including keeping girls in school, promoting gender equity, strengthening protective legal norms, and reducing gender-based violence; (2) information and service needs, including provision of age-appropriate comprehensive sex education, increasing knowledge about and access to information and services, and expanding harm reduction programs for adolescent girls who inject drugs; and (3) social support, including promoting caring relationships with adults and providing support for adolescent female orphans and vulnerable children. DISCUSSION: Numerous gaps remain in evidence-based programming for adolescent girls, including a lack of sex- and age-disaggregated data and the fact that many programs are not explicitly designed or evaluated with adolescents in mind. However, evidence reinforces bolstering critical areas such as education, services, and support for adolescent girls. CONCLUSIONS: This article contributes to the growing body of literature on HIV and adolescent girls and reviews the vulnerabilities of girls, articulates the challenges of programming, develops a framework for addressing the needs of girls, and reviews the evidence for successful programming for adolescent girls. Copyright © 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Source

Alkenbrack S.,Center for Policy and Advocacy | Alkenbrack S.,The World Bank | Chaitkin M.,Center for Policy and Advocacy | Chaitkin M.,Results for Development Institute | And 3 more authors.

Introduction: Despite widespread gains toward the 5th Millennium Development Goal (MDG), pro-rich inequalities in reproductive health (RH) and maternal health (MH) are pervasive throughout the world. As countries enter the post-MDG era and strive toward UHC, it will be important to monitor the extent to which countries are achieving equity of RH and MH service coverage. This study explores how equity of service coverage differs across countries, and explores what policy factors are associated with a country's progress, or lack thereof, toward more equitable RH and MH service coverage. Methods: We used RH and MH service coverage data from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) for 74 countries to examine trends in equity between countries and over time from 1990 to 2014. We examined trends in both relative and absolute equity, and measured relative equity using a concentration index of coverage data grouped by wealth quintile. Through multivariate analysis we examined the relative importance of policy factors, such as political commitment to health, governance, and the level of prepayment, in determining countries' progress toward greater equity in RH and MH service coverage. Results: Relative equity for the coverage of RH and MH services has continually increased across all countries over the past quarter century; however, inequities in coverage persist, in some countries more than others. Multivariate analysis shows that higher education and greater political commitment (measured as the share of government spending allocated to health) were significantly associated with higher equity of service coverage. Neither country income, i.e., GDP per capita, nor better governance were significantly associated with equity. Conclusion: Equity in RH and MH service coverage has improved but varies considerably across countries and over time. Even among the subset of countries that are close to achieving the MDGs, progress made on equity varies considerably across countries. Enduring disparities in access and outcomes underpin mounting support for targeted reforms within the broader context of universal health coverage (UHC). © 2015 Alkenbrack et al. Source

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