Nigeria Health Watch - Let’s talk about sex: What do Nigerian adolescents know about sexual reproductive health?

19 July, 2019

Congratulations to HIFA Social Media group member Chibuike Alagboso and colleagues for this excellent piece of work with Nigeria Health Watch (PS We were delighted to welcome Chibuike to join us in March 2019 for the launch of the HIFA Appeal in Charlbury, UK. See his video presentation here: http://www.hifa.org/news/hifa-appeal-launch-14-march-2019-five-presentat... )

Below are the title, background and selected exztracts.

Title: Let’s talk about sex: What do Nigerian adolescents know about sexual reproductive health?

Providing young people with access to quality and age-appropriate reproductive health information protects them from engaging in harmful practices.

Background: Nigeria Health Watch in collaboration with Education As A Vaccine (EVA) recently conducted two Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) in Nyanya and Kuje areas of the Federal Capital Territory, amongst adolescent. The objectives of the FGD was to gauge the perceptions of adolescents about sexual and reproductive health, identify the key issues they face in accessing sexual and reproductive health services in Nigeria, and make recommendations for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for adolescents. Nigeria Health Watch Team members, Chibuike Alagboso and Atinuke Akande share key findings from the FGD.

The Sex Talk: Most Girls are left out

“If a man touches you, you will get pregnant and die”. This is the only sex education that many of the adolescents ever received from their parents or guardians. While it can be uncomfortable and awkward for many parents and children to have the sex talk, open communication between both parties about sexuality and other risky behavior is crucial. A 15-year old female respondent said, “I have never said anything about sex to my parents, but they always tell me that sex is not a good thing. They say that sex can get you pregnant and cause infection and I can only have sex when I get married”...

Misinformation and DIY Contraceptives

Saltwater. 7Up. Sprite. Schweppes. Coca Cola. Andrews liver salt. Ampiclox. Tetracycline. Alum. Diluted filtrate from firewood ash. Squad 5 - a local drink, mixed with seven cubes of sugar. Eating an excess amount of pineapple immediately after sex. These are contraceptive alternatives that the adolescents listed, some of which they have used. We have written about the use of antibiotics as contraceptives but what many Nigerians do not know or talk about are the other strange alternatives. Convinced that these ‘contraceptives’ are highly effective, a 22-yeard old female said, “They work. You just need to know how to use them”. All these point to a lack of proper sex education - because of their poor knowledge of ovulation cycles, they reach conclusions that these ‘contraceptives’ work...

They also have issues with health workers who often make distasteful comments when they go to access information or services and believe that this can be remedied by engaging more youth-friendly health workers in health facilities. “My friend had an unsafe abortion. She went to the clinic because she was seriously bleeding. When she got there, the health personnel was like ‘Stupid children. When they have gone to do what they do and they are almost dying they’ll now come back and be looking for help and expect us to help them.’ My friend left the clinic and went to a pharmacy where she was given a small remedy. Till today, no matter how ill she is, she never visits a health facility. This is why many young people do not visit health facilities to have such services”, a female respondent narrated...

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Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator, HIFA Project on Family Planning

http://www.hifa.org/projects/family-planning

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA: www.hifa.org

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org