Compliance of Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics with National and International Standards: Quantitative findings from the i-Saathiya study

Deepika Bahl, Shalini Bassi, Heeya Maity, Supriya Krishnan, Stefanie Dringus, Amanda Mason-Jones, Anku Malik, Monika Arora

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OBJECTIVE: Indian adolescents experience several health challenges requiring acceptable, equitable, appropriate and effective healthcare services. Our objective was to assess the compliance of Adolescent Friendly Health Clinics (AFHCs) in two of India's largest states, using both national benchmarks (under Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram-RKSK) and global standards (by WHO).

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study comprising structured observations and interactions (November 2021 to June 2022).

SETTING: Fourteen AFHCs across all levels of health system were included from two districts of Maharashtra (n=8) and Madhya Pradesh (n=6). These AFHCs were observed using checklist, and few items of checklist were verified by interactions with AFHC's health workers (medical officers/auxillary nurse midwives/counsellors) handlings adolescents. The developed checklist included 57 items based on adapted global standards and 25 items using national benchmarks.

RESULT: High compliance of AFHCs with RKSK's benchmarks was attributed to various items including the accessibility through local transport (n=14, 100%), clean surroundings (n=11, 78.5%), presence of signage (n=10, 71.4%), convenient operating days and time (n=11, 78.5%), and secure storage of records (n=13, 92.9%). Concurrently, items that showed low compliance encompassed, the availability of Information, Education and communication (IEC) resources, which were deficient in 57.1% of AFHCs (n=8). Similarly, designated areas for clinical services (n=10, 71.4%) and commodity disbursement (n=9, 64.3%) lacked in more than half of the recruited AFHCs. Additionally, lack of guidelines for referrals (n=13, 92.9%), as well as standard operating procedures to ensure equity, non-judgemental attitude, competence, confidentiality and referral as per WHO standards.

CONCLUSION: Evidence spotlights the strengths and gaps in AFHCs, aligning with, government's priorities on adolescent health. Addressing the identified gaps is crucial to creating healthcare facilities that are adolescent-friendly, easily accessible and effectively navigate adolescent health challenges. This concerted effort would contribute to their development and transformation, playing a pivotal role in India's progress.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere078749
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2024


  • Humans
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • India
  • Adolescent Health Services

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