Healthcare Providers' Perceptions of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs (Including Family Planning) of Elderly Women from Selected Sites in Botswana


Much of the sexual and reproductive health services and service delivery including family planning target women of child bearing ages (15 - 49 years) and sometimes men. Hardly are there programmes/interventions that specifically target the needs of the elderly women (50 years and above), yet this group has serious sexual and reproductive health needs as many of them are still sexually active. This cross-sectional study obtained the views of a stratified random sample of 169 healthcare providers (doctors, nurses and pharmacists) from four selected sites, Gaborone, Selibe Phikwe, Barolong and Kweneng East health districts in Botswana on how the healthcare system in the selected sites is meeting the SRH/FP needs of the elderly women. The study found out that while overwhelming majority of the healthcare providers feltthat the healthcare system has no programme that specifically target the SRH/FP needs of this significant others and their SRH/FP needs are not being met ,less than 15% indicated that Pap smear screening as well as screening of cervical cancer were on-going. Although there are SRH/FP services available in the healthcare system, the elderly women are minimally accessing these services. Only condom, combined oral contraceptives, progestogen-only pills, treatment of STIs, screening for HIV/AIDS and screening for cervical cancer are accessed and information is also limited to these services. Reasons given by the healthcare providers for the non-accessibility of these services were cultural diversity (80%), people's sexual behavior and perceptions about sex (79%), lack of knowledge about the desired SRH/FP services (76%), religion (73%) and gender issues (62%). The study, advocates as part of policy options to mitigate the obstacles to accessing SRH/FP services, the expansion of counseling programmes, screening and treatment for breast cancer, public awareness campaigns, production and circulation of appropriate educational materials, effective training of healthcare providers and the establishment of separate clinic days for the elderly women' SRH/FP services.

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N. Ola Ama and E. Ngome, "Healthcare Providers' Perceptions of the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs (Including Family Planning) of Elderly Women from Selected Sites in Botswana," World Journal of AIDS, Vol. 2 No. 3, 2012, pp. 143-158. doi: 10.4236/wja.2012.23020.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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