Do European Union countries adequately address the healthcare needs of adolescents in the area of sexual reproductive health and rights?

Pierre André Michaud, Annemieke Visser, Johanna Vervoort, Paul Kocken, Sijmen Reijneveld, Mitch Blair, Denise Alexander, Michael Rigby, Martin Weber, Danielle Jansen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objectives: Adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are of particular relevance given their potential short-term or long-term health consequences. This study evaluates recommendations and policies regarding access to care in this area in 31 European countries (European Union (EU) plus Iceland, Norway and Switzerland). Methods: As part of the EU funded Models of Child Health Appraised project, data were gathered using a 43-item questionnaire sent to experts responsible for collecting information in each country. Results: Ten countries have not developed any formal policy or recommendation that guarantee the respect of confidentiality and the possibility of consulting a physician without parents knowing. Nearly half of the countries do not have centres specialised in adolescent healthcare, tackling comprehensive health issues or focusing specifically on SRH. Access to emergency contraception and information regarding pregnancy, including testing, is easy in most countries. However, oral contraception is delivered free of charge in only 10 countries. Twenty-three countries do not meet current standards in terms of providing policy-based pregnancy care, and only 13 have set up special programmes for pregnant adolescents. In only seven countries can adolescents definitely have their pregnancy terminated without their parents knowing (and in another seven countries in selected situations). Conclusion: The provision and availability of adolescent-friendly SRHR care are far from optimal in around half of the surveyed countries. These results call for the review and implementation of policies, specialised healthcare centres and training initiatives for primary care providers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding This work was funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 Framework, Grant No. 634201 (Models of Child Health Appraised; DJ) and by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation, Grant No. 15.0152 (PA-M).

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.


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