Friday, September 21, 2012


Lack of School  based  sexuality-education in  conservative  societies is a  public health problem? Such is the topic   of   an exchange on  LINKEDIN between experts of the  GLOBAL  PUBLIC   HEALTH  NETWORK. The  opinions  of  these  experts   encouraged school based  sexuality education  in conservative  societies.
Let  us  speak about arguments of  some and  other  :

Ruth-Isibor,, Environmental and Public Health Specialist ,Royaume-Uni
“Sexual education in schools is regarded as an effective way to increase young people’s understanding of Sexually Transmitted Infections(STIs) including HIV infection, abortion, and infertility; and to overcome sexual herassment . As a range of research evidence have indicated that school-based sex education has the potential to prevent unwanted pregnancy and to promote positive sexual health at the individual, family and community or health system level.
However, in conservative societies, sexual education is not considered a health priority, and reviews have shown that this has resulted in poor sexual behaviours and outcomes in these societies. As Sexual and reproductive illhealth has now become one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality among young people in these locations. Young people in these regions are as a result, now at high risk of STIs and coerced sexual abuse/rape. Also, despite young people making up a large proportion of these populations, there is very little known about their sexual health, knowledge and experience. As most of the conservative populations have odd views about sexual education.
Consequently, it is these effects of the lack of sexual education in these societies that have now lead to a range of growing public health problems. As due to lack of sexual education, young populations in these societies have now been made vulnerable to negative sexualhealth outcomes."

  Filbert Ajax  Idha, Health Coordinator at Fields of Life Uganda, Ouganda

“ With sexuality education, there seems to be lots of resistance upstream as well as downstream! In my context, the adolescent health profile is so bad, with rising teenage pregnancy, high HIV prevalence among adolescents and the momentum of non-communicable diseases is picking up alarmingly with incresing number of tobbacco smokers among the adolescents, low physical activity levels. Truth be told, a cmprehensive adolescent health is needed, beyond the HIV-Abstinence stage 'we' created. If there is real chance for improved health indicators in the future for us in the developing countries, adolescent health and sexuality education can not be ignored; it holds the potential for health gains interms of the prevention options it gives but also the early intervention option. I have had chance to work on many school settings but i can tell you....a lot more needs to be done!”

Nomakula  Shweni, Quality Assurer - Metropolitan Health Risk Management, Région de Johannesburg,Afrique  du  Sud

“Sexuality Education is generally a challenge for adults because they were never informed themselves about sex and what they currently know is from experience,from peers and from information gained whislt at college or university.The strategy then should be parent- based sexuality education so as to enlighten parents on how to impart this knowledge at home.In South Africa there is a subject called Life Orientation which commences from Gr 3 and our children get to be exposed then about their bodies and as they progress they learn a bit abut sexuality.If teachers are themselves uncomfortable about sexuality issues it poses a challenge to our kids as well.I personally think sexuality education should be tackled at all angles.Sexuality is not only about sex,it is about gender aspects,sexual orientation and every issue connected to sexual development which can be dealt with in phases as the child is growing.Governments should consider getting experts in those areas to draw the correct policies on sexuality education for our schools.

With the advent of HIV all of us need to be up in arms in ensuring that children are empowered in all fronts so to keep negative children negative and maintain those positive at lower levels of the virus of which sexuality education forms part of that campaign “

Aaron Ndaa, Public Health Coordinator at Oxfam Great Britain , Zimbabwe
“Short analysis of the contributions above strongly agree there is need for multisectoral approach to tackling sexuality issues. The family, according to most members' views, becomes the first prot of call to ensure every member of the family has understanding of SE, second institutions such as schools, need to be adequately resources (human, material, financial etc), to ensure SE is trongly embedded into the curricula, third, there needs to be pro-SE policies and I think legislation that protect those at risk and perhaps the fourth aspect looks at cross-cultural issues that may convey negative and positive at the deriment of the 'invaded' culture. There are cultural practices that need to be addressed as they constitute part of the major problems youths (adolescents) encounter. There being no rocket science to issues about sexuality, more research is therefore called for to ensure relevant strategies and approaches are developed to close any existing gaps that have been socially accepted behaviours as sexuality is largely a learned behaviour. I believe to date no one understands what sexuality is (need for more research), and it is only when there is body of evidence telling us what sexuality is and how one can control their physiological abberations can we direct appropriate SE messages that are contextually relevant to societies. We are facing a damnin”

  Remi  Akinmade, Community Health Specialist, Nigeria

“ Family Life Education has been incorporated into the education curriculum, in Nigeria especially Lagos State, the curriculum encompass adolescent reproductive heath, self awareness, esteem directed at personal dreams and vision empowered to negotiate sex, STI/HIV/AIDS and family life education. The Government and youth lead and focus organization are part of the curriculum development and implementation.

The stage at which Reproductive Health education starts in school is another issue, in the FLE curriculum, this start in Elementary/Primary School, Classes 5-6 and all ages at middle and high schools and recently HIV & AIDS were introduced to those in lesser grades; through cartoon' Kami and the Big Bird' an introduction to AIDS to especially promote HIV testing and preventing stigma.

On the issue of people's perception that the awareness creation on ARH may expose a child or make a child promiscuous may not be true, this is why we reinforce education of abstinence. If they are not formally informed by teachers and other qualified facilitators, the youths and children learn negatives from their peer.

We can see the result of uninformed youths; teenage pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse that fuels AIDS, violence, high incidence of ST/HIV & AIDS among youths.

Most Information Education and Communication (IEC) are focused on in-School, but the out-of-School outnumber the in-school especially in sub-Saharan Africa. So efforts on ARH and STI/HIV/AIDS should focus also on these vulnerable group. Our organization, Community Health Information Education Forum (CHIEF) has worked extensively among the out-of-school-youths;”

Dr. Brijendra Singh N,  RCH, consultant  at Free-Lance,Inde.

•” Let us accept that in countries like India society will not change till they feel the urge to change. Parents feel responsible to suitably support their wards in entering life on points of strength through education, resources, property, contacts and are guided by their own experiences during growing up. Thereby they gain an overpowering control particularly on girls in relation to sexuality. As social norms are changing this control is also waning. Till education and economic avenues are not assured for boys and girls by society, parents will have an sayon level of exposure on sex education through formal education. Economic and social empowerment need to go hand in hand in particular for girls and reduction of parental role in settling down of wards in life is prerequisite for univesal acceptance of sex education in formal education. 

Compiled and presented by

Foussénou   Sissoko
Health   Communication  Expert

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