Professional Nurses’ Perceptions of Providing Contraceptives to Adolescents at Primary Healthcare Facilities in Lesotho

The Open Public Health Journal 29 December 2023 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/18749445-v16-230922-2023-126



High adolescent pregnancy rates are evident in most countries, especially low- and middle-income countries like Lesotho, where contraceptive services are available at public facilities at no cost, yet adolescents still have a significant unmet need for contraception. In Lesotho, professional nurses are at the forefront of primary healthcare, including the provision of contraceptive services.


The objective of this study is to explore and describe professional nurses’ perceptions of providing contraceptives to adolescents at Primary Health Care facilities in Lesotho.


A qualitative research strategy with exploratory and descriptive approaches was used. Purposive sampling of four primary healthcare facilities and an all-inclusive sampling of professional nurses employed at these primary healthcare facilities in the Mafeteng district of Lesotho were employed. Semi-structured open-ended interviews were done with 12 participants using an interview schedule. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.


Six categories with their respective themes emerged. The categories included: perceptions of contraception use, perceptions of consulting adolescents at primary healthcare facilities, perceptions of adolescent pregnancy, advice to adolescents using contraception, challenges to effective service provision, and improvement of service provision.


Professional nurses were aware of the adolescents’ unmet need for contraception and their hesitancy when seeking contraceptive services. However, professional nurses support and encourage contraception use during adolescence because the early onset of sexual activity and adolescent pregnancy cannot be denied. Professional Nurses are faced with challenges in the Primary Health Care facility that have hindered their service provision, which needs to be addressed to improve service provision.

Keywords: Adolescents, Adolescent pregnancy, Contraceptives, Primary healthcare, Professional nurses, Lesotho.
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