Maternity care in KwaZulu-Natal : towards a grounded theory of adolescent-friendly maternity services.
The issue of adolescent health has steadily grown momentum with people realizing the vulnerability ofthis sector ofthe world's population. Within the South African context, the tide had also turned. However, most initiatives aimed at the prevention of problems, one of which was adolescent pregnancy. Extant literature revealed that despite efforts to reduce adolescent pregnancy, adolescent fertility rate in SubSaharan Africa remained on the rise. As such, the need for appropriate maternity services for this group became a concern, as extant literature also revealed the costly long term effects to pregnant and parenting adolescents, as well as society as a whole. Within KwaZulu-Natal pregnant and parenting adolescents use the same maternity services as their adult counterparts. It was not clear if these services were appropriate to the needs of these clients. As such, a Glaser Grounded Theory approach was used to explore the maternity services from the points of view of the various stakeholder groups. Data was collected, using theoretical sampling, by means of semi-structured interviews and focus group interviews. Constructs of adolescent-friendly maternity care were identified from the findings. The components of the constructs included aspects of (1) Structures and Resources, (2) Attitudes to AMCs, and (3) Services. The resources or structures that either need to exist and/or be improved included policies, the quality and quantity of HCps, formalized support for AMCs, a sensitized administration, community involvement and the educational preparation of HCps. The attitudes that service providers were expected to demonstrate in their interaction with AMCs included those of equality, empathy and respect. They were also expected to show understanding towards AMCs and provide them with reassurance and support. The third component identified specific services to be provided to AMCs during the antenatal, labour and delivery, and postnatal period. These constructs can be used by health care planners and providers to strengthen and improve service provision to and utilization by pregnant and parenting adolescents and form the foundation on which a theory of adolescent-friendly maternity care can be based. Recommendations were made with regards to future service and research endeavours.