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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 23-28

Reproductive health problems and health seeking behavior of female sex workers in Sabon Gari Local Government Area, Zaria, Nigeria

Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Epidermiology and Community Medicine, and Surgery, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Kwara, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
L O Omokanye
Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Kwara
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Source of Support: This project was jointly funded by the authors., Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1118-8561.129150

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Background: The sexual and reproductive health needs of sex workers have been neglected both in research and public health interventions. Among the reasons for this are the condemnation, stigma and ambiguous legal status of sex work in Nigeria. This study was aimed at determining the reproductive health problems and health-seeking behavior of brothel-based female sex workers (FSW). Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted among brothel-based FSW in Sabon-Gari Local Government in Zaria, Nigeria between 1 st January 2011 and 31 st June 2011. A total of 208 FSW were randomly selected and information was obtained with the use of the semi-structured questionnaire. Data entry was done with the help of structured codes in Microsoft Excel. Descriptive analysis was carried out using the statistical package (SSPS 16-University of Bristol). Results: Majority 90.7% of the respondents had experienced reproductive morbidity in the last 3 months. Frequently experienced symptoms were vaginal discharge (63.8%), acute lower abdominal pain (57.5%), menstrual irregularities (37%) and genital ulcer (32.3%). Genital tear occurred in only 25 (9.8%) respondents. Furthermore, 178 (63.6%) had a termination of unwanted pregnancies. Most (32.3%) sought care for their reproductive health problems from chemist shops; followed by the private hospitals in 23.6% of respondents. Others took self-medication for their ailments. Post-treatment success was the most frequently mentioned reason for the choice of place of treatment, followed by finance. Conclusion: The most commonly reported reproductive health problem among FSW was vaginal discharge and many of them have poor health seeking behavior. Health promotion and client sensitive health care services specifically targeting FSW should be developed, packaged and delivered to improve reproductive health of FSW. There should be concerted efforts by the government and other stakeholders in reproductive health to develop a policy framework to addressing the challenges in health of FSW.

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