A forgotten group during humanitarian crises: sexual and reproductive health interventions for young people including adolescents in humanitarian settings

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Young people, including adolescents, continue to be a neglected group in humanitarian settings facing barriers to healthcare and increased risk of poor sexual and reproductive health.

This review assessed the evidence on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) interventions for young people including adolescents in humanitarian settings, strategies to increase their utilisation and their effects on health outcomes. Nine peer-reviewed and five grey literature articles were identified, the majority published post-2012 and mostly high- or medium-quality, focusing on prevention of unintended pregnancies, HIV/STIs, maternal and newborn health, and prevention of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). There were no studies identified concerning prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), safe abortion, post-abortion care, urogenital fistulae or female genital mutilation (FGM). Thirteen studies reported positive effects on outcomes (majority were positive changes in knowledge and attitudes), seven studies reported no effects in some SRH outcomes measured, and one study reported a decrease in number of new and repeat family planning clients. Strategies to increase intervention utilisation by young people include adolescent-friendly spaces, peer workers, school-based activities, and involving young people. While some SRH interventions for young people are being implemented, there are insufficient details of specific intervention components and outcome measurements to adequately map these interventions. Efforts to address this key population’s SRH needs and evaluate effective implementation modalities require urgent attention.

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