Background: Poor access and low utilisation of maternal health services by adolescent mothers is a major public-health concern in sub-Saharan Africa. Underutilisation of such services is due in part to fear of being stigmatised and embarrassed for being pregnant, perceived lack of confidentiality and privacy, cost and distance to access services. To the best of our knowledge no scoping review has been undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa on this issue.
Objectives: To generate the best available evidence on factors influencing access and utilisation of maternal health services by adolescent mothers in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods: A three-step search strategy will be employed. An initial limited search of MEDLINE and GLOBAL HEALTH (CABI) will be followed by an analysis of the text words contained in the title and abstract, and of the key terms used to define the papers. A second a search will use all identified keywords and index terms across other included databases (PubMed, ISI Web of Knowledge, PsycINFO, Embase, CINAHL and POPLINE). Thirdly, the reference list of all identified reports and articles will be searched. Study selection will be limited to the English language but not by any time period. Authors of primary studies will be contacted for further information if the need be. Comprehensive findings will be placed in defined categories in a table of results.
Results: Socio-demographic, cultural, economic, and other factors that facilitate or inhibit adolescent mothers’ access and use of maternal health services.
Conclusions: Recommendations on further reviews, primary studies, possible interventions and policy directions will be made based on findings of this review.