'myths and misconceptions' have always played a major role in confusing the Nigerian population on health matters, I dare say, African population, too. More recently political correctness, religious correctness, ethnic and cultural correctness have added to the confusion that is leading to preventable serious morbidity and appalling mortality. And in no health area are the consequences more drastic than sexual and reproductive health particularly amongst the sexually active young / youths. Try putting forward rational practical and commonsensical protection ideas and you get shouted down as blasphemous or anti culture. Elected politicians whose constituents are victims of unwanted pregnancy and abortions would not support any attempt to legislate on these matters for fear of losing voter support. Religious and traditional leaders are no different and are ready to ostracise any member of congregation that as much as tries to raise the topic. Large sections of society in LMICs believe that modern contraception promotes promiscuity. On the other side of the debate, Health workers in general are cowed by the authority of these leaders in society such that even though they know that the evidence points to reduction of morbidity and mortality in societies that are ready to debate available options openly and rationally, they are likely to be very quiet / inactive in the debate.
The result is what Dr. Fatima Mohammed, said, "what young people said is that we have nobody we trust to give us information so if they do not have anybody to trust to give them information will they trust the social media?"
The ABC message from HIV/AIDS campaign was useful in bringing about reduction in prevalence: Abstain from sex outside marriage / stable relationship; Be faithful in such relationships; Use condom if the people involved cannot do A or B. Interestingly, the power elites mentioned above also opposed the ABC message. Health workers had to manouvre their way through the 'myths and misinformation' to reach the population.
Hopefully, a critical mass shall emerge of independent, civil society organisations in Nigeria and across the continent to promote evidence informed health information, to the youths especially, about safe sexual practices and effective contraception.
Africa Center for Clin Gov Research & Patient Safety
@ HRI West Africa Group - HRI WA
Consultants in Clinical Governance Implementation
Publisher: Health and Medical Journals
8 Amaku Street Housing Estate, Calabar
Cross River State, Nigeria
HIFA profile: Joseph Ana is the Lead Consultant and Trainer at the Africa Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria. In 2015 he won the NMA Award of Excellence for establishing 12-Pillar Clinical Governance, Quality and Safety initiative in Nigeria. He has been the pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) National Committee on Clinical Governance and Research since 2012. He is also Chairman of the Quality & Performance subcommittee of the Technical Working Group for the implementation of the Nigeria Health Act. He is a pioneer Trustee-Director of the NMF (Nigerian Medical Forum) which took the BMJ to West Africa in 1995. He is particularly interested in strengthening health systems for quality and safety in LMICs. He has written Five books on the 12-Pillar Clinical Governance for LMICs, including a TOOLS for Implementation. He established the Department of Clinical Governance, Servicom & e-health in the Cross River State Ministry of Health, Nigeria in 2007. Website: www.hriwestafrica.com Joseph is a member of the HIFA Steering Group: http://www.hifa.org/people/steering-group
jneana AT yahoo.co.uk