Challenges of access and use of reproductive health services for rural women: a case of Masaka District
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Many studies have been done about the sexual reproductive health services involving men and women though less is known about the access and use of the reproductive health services. The main objective of this study was to investigate and identify challenges of access and use of reproductive health services for rural women in Masaka district. The study was conducted in two sub counties of Masaka district namely Kalungu and Kyanamukaaka. A total of 90 women were interviewed, 50 were accessing RHS and 40 were not accessing. Men were also interviwed10 men whose spouses were accessing and 10 men whose spouses were not accessing RHS. A total of 15 IDs were done with key informants and 2FGDs were conducted. It was guided by the Research questions: What is the relationship between availability and accessibility of the various types of reproductive health services? What challenges do women face in accessing RHS? What coping strategies do women employ in handling reproductive health challenges? The instrument used in data collection included the questionnaire; focus group discussion guide and in-depth interview guide. Data from general questions were analysed in table form and frequencies whereas data from FGD and in-depth interviews were analysed under the main themes of the study. It was revealed that; there was awareness of the existence of the sexual reproductive health services in Government health units though women in rural Masaka prefer private health providers. A combination of factors influenced the access and use of RHS, including lack of drugs, long distances, and lack of patient care. The study drew some conclusions that majority of women preferred to use private health clinics and traditional birth attendants. The study recommended stocking of health units with drugs, TBAs be trained and promote research in herbal medicine.