Sexual and reproductive health rights and information and communications technologies: A policy review and case study from South Africa

Case Studies & Research
Institute of Development Studies
40 p.

This report examines the linkages between policies on, and implementation of, sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) and ICT in rural and peri-urban spaces in South Africa. South Africa is renowned for its legal provisions addressing SRHR yet also experiences barriers to adolescent sexual health. SRHR programming is politically complex and often ambivalent; as a result less contentious aspects which emphasise maternal health get prioritised. The legacy of population control, during which actions were taken to reduce birth rates amongst black persons, has resulted in a focus on long-acting contraception as opposed to the development of SRHR. Nonetheless, adolescent pregnancy rates remain stubbornly high. At the same time South Africa has high mobile phone density with many
adolescents owning phones. ICT therefore provide innovative opportunities to address the challenges facing health systems and SRHR. This evidence report is based on the analysis of relevant SRHR policies and ICT policies, key informant interviews with stakeholders in the health and ICT domain and available literature.

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