Structural violence in South African primary healthcare facilities: insights from discussions with adolescents and young people seeking sexual and reproductive health needs
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Introduction. South Africa has an enabling legislative and policy framework that promotes the protection of adolescents and young peoples sexual and reproductive health and rights. Much of the literature in this field has identified discriminatory and hostile attitudes from healthcare workers as a major underlying factor to negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes for this age cohort. Not as well understood is the role of structural violence although this type of violence, through its structures of injustice and inequalities, is closely associated with stigma and discrimination. Data and sources. To contribute to closing this research gap, this paper draws on the findings of a larger qualitative study, specifically focus group discussions with young people aged 15-24 years. Results. The consequences of these attitudes within the structural violence framework are illuminated as are recommendations for enhancing access to sexual and reproductive health and services by adolescents and young people. Discussion and conclusion. Key among the latter is that young peoples sexual and reproductive health needs and wellbeing should be pursued through a multisectoral approach that encompasses stigma reduction interventions involving the young people, families, and communities collaborating with healthcare workers.