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Assessing communication on sexual and reproductive health issues among high school students with their parents, Bullen Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz Region, North West Ethiopia

DG Yesus
M Fantahun


Background: “Adolescents "and "young people “are defined by WHO as the age group 10-19 years and 10-24 years, respectively. Young people make up over one –quarter of the world’s population. Neglecting this population has a major implication on sexual and reproductive behaviors as they develop into adults. The health threats for adolescents today are predominantly behavioral rather than biomedical and more of today's adolescents are involved in health behaviors with potential for serious consequences. Hence, it is important to understand the exposure of school students to sexual and reproductive health knowledge and skills at different places including home.
Objective: To assess the level and factors influencing communication between school students and parents on sexual and RH issues.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey using self-administered questionnaire and supplemented by focus group discussion was conducted in January 2006 at Bullen Woreda preparatory and high schools in northwest Ethiopia.
Results: A total of 412 young people participated in the study. Of these, 284(68.9%) were males and the rest 29.1% females About 13% of the respondents were sexually active. School was mentioned as the most common source of information for sexual and reproductive health issues followed by friends. Three hundred sixty two (88%) respondents believed that it is important to discuss sexual and reproductive health issues/matters with parents. However, only 119 (28.9%) of them discussed on two or more SRH topics with their parents. A high proportion of both male (78%) and female (72%) students preferred to discuss sexual and reproductive health issues with peers compared to less than 27% who prefer to discuss with parents.
Conclusions: Although the majority of the students think discussion on sexual and reproductive health issues is important, they prefer to discuss with peers as this makes them more comfortable. Thus, it is essential to improve the sexual and Reproductive Health knowledge of school students to enhance peer influence positively and improve parent student communications through targeted family life education activities among students and parents. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2010;24(2):89-95]

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