Rukwaro, MW, Japhet Otike, J. Barriers to and opportunities for provision and dissemination of information on sexuality and reproductive health to girls in secondary schools in Kenya. Innovation; 2012
Abstract / Summary:
This paper discusses factors affecting the provision of information on sexuality and reproductive health to girls in secondary schools in Kenya. The factors include lack of enforcement of national guidelines to educate the girls effectively on sexuality and reproductive health, lack of appropriate information sources, social-cultural norms and poverty, negative influence of mass media and internet, early onset of menarche, lack of coordination of reproductive health information provision, intergenerational sex, among others. Girls are singled out for discussion in this paper because they are more vulnerable to reproductive health problems than boys are because of their reproductive anatomy and physiology. A girl is also more susceptible to some STIs than an adult woman because her body lacks antibodies that could protect her against them and they also are unassertive to claim safety during sexual activity. Girls are also at a greater risk of sexual violation such as incest and harmful traditional practices such as forced child marriage and they also lack legal redress in cases of sexual abuse. Access to reproductive health information is restricted due to social-cultural norms which restrict a girl’s movement which impedes her access to available information. This paper also discusses suggestions that could be implemented in order to overcome the challenges that impede effective dissemination of information on sexuality and reproductive health. These suggestions include drawing up of national guidelines on sexuality and reproductive health education; training and equipping teachers, parents and peer counsellors with knowledge and skills on reproductive health, having appropriate reproductive health information disseminated through the mass media, libraries and health clinics; and efficient coordination of reproductive health provision, among others.