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01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2014

Young people’s perceptions of youth-oriented health services in urban Soweto, South Africa: a qualitative investigation

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2014
Brittany Schriver, Kathryn Meagley, Shane Norris, Rebecca Geary, Aryeh D Stein
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

BS and KM designed the study, developed the tools, carried out the interviews and coded the data. BS additionally analysed the data. RG participated in the design of the study and oversaw the data collection. ADS and SN oversaw the study and participated in its design and coordination. BS wrote the article and all authors critically revised the paper and approved the final manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



In 2006, the South African Department of Health adopted and scaled-up loveLife’s Youth Friendly Services (YFS) initiative to a national policy to improve youth utilization of health programmes by strengthening community sensitisation and counselling services. As these services roll-out, alternative services to target young people are also becoming more popular. Success of any of these services, however, is dependent upon young people’s perceptions of these health services as a whole.
This paper aims to examine the knowledge and perceptions of current health services oriented towards young people and examine potential alternative approaches to health service delivery.


The study was conducted in urban Soweto, South Africa. Twenty-five in-depth interviews were conducted between May-July 2012. Twenty-three of these were analysed according to modified grounded theory.


Knowledge of YFS was very low with no thorough knowledge of the programme’s purpose or activities. In general, young people were dissatisfied with the current health services in Soweto citing a lack of resources, long waiting times, and poor quality of care heightened by an underlying lack of choice and perceived inequity. When compared to alternative models of service delivery, no particular model was preferred over another.


Greater knowledge of whether and to what extent local clinics in Soweto are implementing YFS standards is needed. If implemented, improved outreach and advertisement is suggested. In-service training of nurses should be prioritized with a focus on sensitivity and equitable treatment to all.
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