SPH Publishes Article on Barriers to Utilization of Adolescent-Friendly Health Services in Armenia

The Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH) of the American University of Armenia (AUA) published an article titled “Barriers to utilization of adolescent friendly health services in primary healthcare facilities in Armenia: a qualitative study” in the International Journal of Public Health, an internationally ranked peer-reviewed academic journal that focuses on global public health issues. The authors of the article are SPH researchers Varduhi Hayrumyan, MS, MPH (’16), Zaruhi Grigoryan, MPH (’15), Zhanna Sargsyan, MS, MPH (’18), Serine Sahakyan, RN, MPH (’15), Lusine Aslanyan, MPH (’18), and Arusyak Harutyunyan, MD, MPH (’09).

The article explored potential challenges that hamper the utilization of adolescent-friendly health services (AFHS) in primary healthcare (PHC) facilities in Armenia. A qualitative study was conducted with experts in adolescent health, PHC providers and facility managers from public PHC facilities, and adolescents from Yerevan and Gyumri, the two largest cities in Armenia.

The study revealed various sets of barriers (patient-, provider-, facility-, community-, system-level) that hindered the utilization of AFHS at public PHC facilities in Armenia. These factors included adolescents’ poor health literacy and awareness of health services (patient-level), lack of providers’ professional competencies on AFHS, breaches of confidentiality and providers’ negative attitude (provider-level), lack of privacy, inconvenient operating hours and long waiting times, and poor condition of facilities and medical equipment (facility-level), public opinion (community-level), and poor implementation of AFHS and lack of time to provide AFHS (system-level). The study recommended focusing on interventions to improve adolescents’ health literacy, enhance competencies of providers, as well as strengthen the structural conditions of PHC facilities and maintenance of privacy and confidentiality. The study also highlighted the role of communities in adolescent health and suggested community education on the importance of utilization of healthcare services by adolescents. The study also recommended further investigation of challenges that younger adolescents face while seeking healthcare services in PHC facilities in rural communities in Armenia. The barriers identified in this study may assist policymakers in implementing evidence-based interventions to improve AFHS in the country.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Armenia Country Office provided financial support for the study.

The AUA Turpanjian School of Public Health works actively to improve population health and health services in Armenia and beyond through interdisciplinary education and development of public health professionals to be leaders in public health, health services research and evaluation, and health care delivery and management.