According to World Health Organization (WHO) definition adolescent comprises individuals between the age group of 10–19 years. It is the period of transition from childhood to adulthood characterized by significant physiological, psychological and social changes[1, 2].
Adolescents suffer from life threatening health risks related to early marriage, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS, female genital mutilation, malnutrition and anemia, infertility, sexual and gender based violence, and other serious reproductive health and social problems. Many adolescents die prematurely. An estimated 70,000 teenage girls die every year during pregnancy and childbirth and more than one million infants born to adolescent girls die before their first birthday[3–6].
An estimated 14 million adolescents give birth globally each year and more than 90% of these live births occur in developing countries. Adolescents in the Sub-Saharan Africa region have low family planning utilization rates and limited knowledge of reproductive health (RH) services. They account for a higher proportion of the region’s new HIV infections, maternal mortality, and unmet need for reproductive health information and services which is linked to social, cultural, economic and gender related factors[4, 7].
The literatures shows that adolescents often lack basic RH information, knowledge, experience, and are less comfortable accessing reproductive and sexual health services than adults. This could be attributed to parents, health care workers, and educators who are frequently unwilling or unable to provide age-appropriate RH information to young people. This is often due to their discomfort about the subject or the false belief that providing the information will encourage sexual activity. Adolescents’ embarrassment or discomfort to discuss sensitive topics with their health care provider, less favorable attitudes toward the use of health services and providers, disappointment with how health care providers questions, uncertainty on what providers do with information, and being treated disrespectfully and even denial of the service by their health care providers are often cited as discouraging[4, 7, 9].
In Ethiopia, youth commonly suffer from reproductive health problems such as sexual coercion, early marriage, female genital cutting, and sexually transmitted infections. According to the 2011 EDHS, 28.6% of the married women were using family planning method. The coverage is only 23.8% among adolescents’ of 15–19 years of age. Unmet need for family planning in Ethiopia in the same year was 25% and it is highest among adolescents of 15–19 years of age. Although the government provides contraception at no cost, these supplies are frequently not readily accessible. Childbearing also begins early, with 45% of total births in the country occurring among adolescent girls and young women[10–12].
Reports indicate that demand for sexual and reproductive health services by adolescents is increasing in developing countries[13–15]. However, there is limited evidence on the provision of the service, its effectiveness, and the role of the different stakeholders involved[13, 14]. Integrated services delivered through the healthcare system are identified as one of the most effective ways of delivering RH services. Health professional are responsible to promote and provide the sexual and reproductive health service to adolescents in health facilities. The evidence in many countries has shown that most young people do not routinely seek sexual and reproductive health service. The role of health professionals as a source of information is found to be low. In order to provide the service it is imperative that providers themselves should have positive attitude towards the service. Little is known about health workers attitude towards sexual and reproductive health services for unmarried adolescents in Ethiopia. The study will give insight about health care workers’ attitudes toward adolescent sexual and reproductive health and could be helpful to design appropriate intervention measures to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health in the country.