Intimate Sexual and Reproductive Health Outreach
Our Medical Team and our incredible volunteers in the Field Management Team volunteers embarked on a 4-hour session Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) outreach with some of our beneficiaries at Makoko to discuss the importance of SRH in young and adolescent women. The team, led by our Programs Manager, Ella Togun, ensured that the session was fun but most importantly informative.
Sexual and Reproductive Health in Nigeria
Nigeria, like most developing countries, lacks a fundamental sexual and reproductive health system due to religious and cultural bias and stigmatization. Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) is a fairly new concept in global issues and is beginning to gain new grounds as liberal activities and sexual behaviors remain on a steady rise.
SRH ties goes hand in hand with three core issues: Population, Health and Environment. These three issues are, however, hindered by religion, politics, and sociocultural prejudices. In most developed countries SRH is seen as an integral part of human rights, an indivisible component of universal human rights.
A country like Nigeria, nevertheless, suffers from an immature readiness of the government to implement certain health policies for its people. The prevalent rate of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality as well as unsafe abortions and female genital tract malignancies proves that the Nigerian SRH system is internally flawed.
During the outreach, Programs Manager, Slum2School Africa, Ella Togun stated that “this was an important outreach because we’ve had a couple of beneficiaries in the community that has gotten pregnant due to a lack of sex and health education and it disrupted their studies.”
The Implication of a Lack of SRH rights in Nigeria
The denial of SRH rights to women, minorities and people living with stigmatized diseases such as HIV/AIDS, has contributed to a grievous implication. Women and adolescents that need access to birth control do not have access to them. Till date, a significant number of girls within the ages of 15 to 19 have carried unwanted pregnancies. Most importantly, educating young men and women on the importance of using condom to prevent sexually transmittable diseases (STD), and unwanted pregnancies is absent.
During the outreach, one of the volunteers from Slum2School Africa stated that “we needed to make them [the beneficiaries] feel comfortable with us, so they could speak freely with us and have fun during the program. We showed them a movie about sexual and reproductive health, called HER: the movie.”
“Once they felt comfortable, they began sharing their stories with us, one of our girls spoke about using a bedsheet as a pad because her parents could not afford a pad. We found that the girls became comfortable enough to share their stories with us, they asked several questions about menstrual and sexual health, and most importantly the consent. We had hoped the event will last for 2 hours, we ended up spending 4 hours with the girls,” she stated.
Poor health education, zero access to affordable SRH medical care, lack of unsafe abortions, lack of access to contraceptives is a leading cause of STD’s, and unwanted pregnancies. And the people most affected by this fleet of inadequacies are those living in rural areas, from underserved communities.