Reprod Health Matters. 2013 May;21(41):143-53. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(13)41693-2

Beyond the clinic walls: empowering young people through Youth Peer Provider programmes in Ecuador and Nicaragua

Tebbets C, Redwine D
Planned Parenthood Global, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, New York, NY, USA

Youth in Latin America experience high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, but traditional health services are not meeting their health care needs. Youth require access to tailored health care and information to make informed, healthy decisions. To break down barriers to these vital sexual and reproductive health services, Planned Parenthood Global, a division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, developed a Youth Peer Provider model which has been implemented in Latin America since the early 1990s. The model goes beyond peer education to train Youth Peer Providers under age 20 to provide condoms, oral contraceptive pills, emergency contraception, injectable contraceptives, and sexual and reproductive health information to their peers. Peers with needs beyond Youth Peer Providers' capacity are referred to health professionals offering youth-friendly services. Survey results reveal high levels of contraceptive use among those served by the Youth Peer Providers: 98% of sexually active survey respondents wishing to avoid pregnancy report contraceptive use at least five years after joining the programme. Results of qualitative programme evaluations highlight higher self-esteem, stronger communication and decision-making skills, close relationships with friends and family, more interest in school, understanding of responsibility in relationships, and other positive outcomes among programme participants.