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Health News of Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Source: GNA

Research Centre recommends reproductive health education

Navrongo (U/E), Nov 30, GNA - The Navrongo Health Research Centre has said it was feasible and beneficial to introduce sexual and reproductive health education in basic schools and communities, targeting young people. At a meeting to present research findings on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health at the week end in Navrongo, Dr Abraham Hodgson, the Director of the Centre, said the project was launched eight years ago. It involved using peer educators and adult mentors, developing and teaching adolescent and sexual reproductive health curricular in schools, reaching young people through games, film shows and church activities. It also provided youth friendly services in health facilities and it turned out successful and proved that it would be beneficial to teach young people about their sexual and reproductive health. He commended the Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Health Service for their keen interest and collaboration which helped to make the study a success. Dr Cornelius Debpuur, Research Officer, said the study trained teachers and young people on sexual and reproductive health who would in turn teach in class and educate their peers on the subject. The study was carried out in schools and communities in the two Kassena Nankana districts.

The study involved lessons on sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, abortions and general health care of young people. It was meant to impart knowledge on sexual and reproductive health to young people, influence behavioural change and help young people take care of themselves, avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, avoid unwanted pregnancies and live healthy lives. Dr Debpuur said it had a positive impact on the people and stressed the need for the education in schools and services in communities to continue, saying that influencing people's behaviour took a long time but would eventually help reduce many health problems. The Research Centre collaborated with the Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to design a curriculum that was used in the schools, trained teachers and circuit supervisors to supervise and monitor the lessons.

Ms Matilda Aberese Ako, a research officer, said during and at the end of the three-year study period, assessment of its impact showed that the young people had better knowledge of signs and symptoms of STDs and how and when pregnancy could occur. The young girls involved in the study also showed an improvement in perceived ability to refuse sex. On sexual behaviour, higher proportion of pupils in comparison schools who reported sexual activity, more of them used condoms and less number of girls got pregnant. In 2005, first year of the study, 55 per cent of young people who were not included in the study used condoms while 51 per cent who took part in the study used condoms. By 2008, 70.9 per cent involved in the study used condoms while 64.5 per cent who were not in the study used condoms. Rating the ability of young people to refuse sex, 74.7 per cent who did take part in the study could easily refuse sex in 2005, while for those involved in the study, 81.1 per cent refused sex. By 2007, 85.4 per cent of those involved in the study could refuse sex while 81.4 per cent of those outside the study could do so. The study showed that there was greater improvement in knowledge, attitudes and behaviour among adolescents in the intervention arm as compared to those not involved in the study, however, the impact of the interventions were seen to be dependant on the duration and effectiveness of teaching. It also showed that young people lack vital sexual and reproductive health information and many of them were engaging in unprotected sex. Representatives of the GES and the GHS who were involved in the study recommended that since the research turned out to be beneficial to the people, it should be introduced in many other schools in the region and proposed meetings to plan and draw out appropriate curricula to be used in the schools. 30 Nov 10

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