Improving Reproductive Health Services and Access

Reproductive Health Services

Reproductive health is a state of well being in all matters related to menstruation, pregnancy and childbirth. It includes safe sex, information about sexually transmitted infections and healthy parenting.

To determine the level of reproductive health services utilization and associated factors, a community based cross-sectional design was employed among adolescents living in 5 randomly selected kebeles of Debre Berhan town. The results indicated that service utilization was low.


Reproductive health services help people avoid unintended pregnancies, which can reduce the need for unsafe abortions and HIV transmissions. They can also increase education and employment opportunities, promote family stability and economic development and provide women with greater freedom to choose when and whether to have children.

Sexual and reproductive health services can also include screening for and counseling on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cancers of the reproductive organs. However, many of these services are underfunded and under-supported. As the AIDS epidemic continues, investments in family planning and contraceptive use are critical.

Adding HIV prevention to existing services can improve outcomes by increasing user satisfaction, improving provider attitudes and counseling skills and by lowering costs. This approach can be especially helpful in developing countries, where the greatest benefits are derived from lower costs and greater reach. (Adapted from Singh S, et al., Adding It Up: The Benefits of Investments in Sexual and Reproductive Health, AGI/UNFPA, 2014). The 87 clinics in the Network provide a wide variety of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services. Some of these services are offered for free, while others have a sliding fee scale based on income.


Reproductive health services are a vital part of women’s overall well-being. These include respectful & high quality maternity care, sexual health & education, basic female anatomy & understanding menstruation, contraception, pregnancy, miscarriage & abortion. It is a broad and complex concept that encompasses the whole woman – her physical, emotional & social wellbeing.

The process of diagnosis is a fluid one, in which the physician responds to new information garnered from a patient’s response to treatment, from a clinical examination of their body and from medical tests like blood & X-rays. It involves reasoning backwards to identify the potential health issue that could be causing a patient’s symptoms.

This is known as the ‘working diagnosis’, and it is important that doctors continue to evaluate new information in order to keep this working diagnosis up to date – especially when they are using risky or invasive tests. The plural of diagnosis is diagnoses, pronounced [dahy-uhg-noh-seez]. This is similar to the way that other singular words with a -is ending are formed into plurals, such as hypothesis/hypotheses and crisis/crises.


Reproductive health services can prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV by promoting healthy sex life choices, safe pregnancy prevention, and birth control. They also can help people understand and deal with reproductive issues such as infertility and menopause.

Access to reproductive health information and services is vital for women, men, and young people around the world. It can help them meet their health needs, realize their aspirations, and contribute to their communities and countries.

In some countries, however, fewer than 30 percent of women of reproductive age use modern contraceptives, and in 35 countries, abortion is illegal or unavailable. USAID is working to improve this situation by integrating voluntary family planning counseling into the full spectrum of U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programming and by building a culture of prevention that is based on human rights and gender equality. This is a critical part of the comprehensive care approach that PEPFAR embraces.


Reproductive health services should be available in a timely manner, and should include counseling about the prevention of unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and abortion. Counseling should be culturally appropriate and gender-sensitive, and should incorporate universally recognized human rights standards. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought long-standing structural inequities in access to reproductive health care into sharp focus, highlighting the need for policies and investments at all levels of government that provide low-income women with the resources they need.

VA Women’s Health primary care providers are trusted partners who can talk to you about sensitive topics, including menstrual cycles, fertility, maternity, and menopause. They will help you make decisions that are right for you, and give you the information you need to live a healthy life.

Less than one-third of women ages 18-49 say their provider asked them about intimate partner violence (IPV). Those with Medicaid were more likely to be asked than those without insurance.

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