Original Research

Perceptions of community health workers on teenage pregnancy in rural Limpopo: A qualitative study

Rakgadi G. Malapela, Sheillah H. Mboweni, Patrone R. Risenga
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 16, No 1 | a4296 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v16i1.4296 | © 2024 Rakgadi G. Malapela, Sheillah H. Mboweni, Patrone R. Risenga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 September 2023 | Published: 24 March 2024

About the author(s)

Rakgadi G. Malapela, Department of Health Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Sheillah H. Mboweni, Department of Health Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Patrone R. Risenga, Department of Health Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Despite measures put in place to combat teenage pregnancy, the rate remains high. Community health workers (CHWs) are a cadre of health workers that can help put measures in place to reduce teenage pregnancy in the communities in which they live and work.

Aim: This article aims to gain a deeper understanding of CHWs’ perceptions regarding teenage pregnancy in the rural districts of Limpopo province.

Methods: An exploratory qualitative study approach was employed to collect data from CHWs in two rural districts of Limpopo. A non-probability purposive sampling approach was used to choose 81 CHWs. Eight focus group discussions (FGDs) were organised, and audio recorded to collect data from participants. The discussions were 2–3 h long and conducted in English, and data saturation was attained by the fifth FGDs.

Results: An eight-step tech’s content analysis approach was employed to deductively code, analyse and summarise data into themes. Three themes emerged: the prevalence of teenage pregnancy in rural villages, factors contributing to teenage pregnancy and challenges faced by CHWs when dealing with teenage pregnancy.

Conclusion: The study’s findings revealed that CHWs face challenges in their communities when offering appropriate teen pregnancy services and CHWs believe that teen pregnancy numbers remain high. There is a significant barrier in combating teenage pregnancy; if contraceptives are not acceptable to the community, the only solution and option for combating teenage pregnancy is abstinence.

Contribution: The CHWs presented their insights of teenage pregnancy in rural communities. The outcomes of this study could help clinical practise, schools, communities, youth-friendly services, policymakers and other non-governmental organisations reduce teenage pregnancy.


Keywords

community health workers; exploratory; perceptions; qualitative study; teenage pregnancy.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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