Health Facility Challenges in Meeting the Psychosocial Needs of HIV Perinatally - Infected Adolescents:
Effectively addressing the psychological needs of HIV perinatally infected adolescents in Uganda is no only critical to avert risk taking behavior, impaired adulthood and premature death of the adolescent but also for the achievement of every one of the millennium development goals and yet the issue remains a challenge to HIV/AIDS treatment and care health facilities. Study objectives The main objective of the study was to establish the health facility's challenges in meeting the psychosocial needs of HIV positive perinatally infected adolescents attending Mildmay Uganda. Four specific objectives guided the study; To assess the adolescent's exceptions in relation to the services offered; examine the adequacy of infrastructure; determine the human resource factors; and examine the adequacy of funding for meeting the adolescents' psychosocial needs. Methodology A cross sectional research design involving the use of both qualitative and quantitative research methods was employed to study a population of 121 participants comprising 100 adolescents aged 14 to 19 years with perinatally acquired HIV-1; 15 health workers directly involved with adolescents; and 6 key informants. The results were summarized by use of tabulations, charts, graphs and percentages. Results The study showed that although Mildmay Uganda in general, offers commendable treatment and care for HIV perinatally infected adolescents by having in place an adolescent unit, adolescent friendly staff; training and workshops for both staff and patients, and has adolescent engagement to some degree, there are several constraints. The major challenges established include; inadequate funding; inappropriate infrastructure, human resource factors namely; inadequate numbers,inappropriate knowledge, attitude and skills in adolescent issues. The other challenges were a mismatch between adolescents expectations and the services delivered, high percentage of orphaned and financially needy adolescents, poor educational achievement and increasing sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents. Recommendation the study recommends that government and donors increase funding for HIV/AIDS adolescents' psychosocial care, institute interdisciplinary training programs in adolescent health, ensure the establishment of youth friendly and youth led health services and initiate programs that target vulnerable “post adolescent”/young people. Mild may Uganda ought to seek for additional sources of funding for adolescent's support, establish adolescent friendly services, life skills and vocational skills training, increase adolescent's involvement, strengthen the management of pertinent issues of adolescence; and build the capacity of the family members to give effective psychosocial care for adolescents.