The coordinator of Advocacy and Behavioural change communication Naguru Teenage Information and Health Centre Joshua Thembo has encouraged parents to talk to their children about matters concerning their sexual and reproductive health.
Thembo Joshua, while in a phone interview with RX Radio’s James Onen aka Fatboy gave the advice in response to the shocking numbers of unsafe abortions registered in the Acholi subregion during the 2020-2021 period.
Compiled information from Omoro, Pader, Kitgum, Lamwo, Agago, Amuru and Gulu districts indicated that 14,530 women and teenagers sought for post abortion care at the different health facilities in which 2,922 of the abortion cases registered were teenagers.
According to Thembo, most of these teenagers got pregnant while at home as a result of the Covid 19 induced lockdown on schools. Although such outrageous cases of pregnancies are no longer surprising, Joshua says that it showed a weakened social protection system.
“This means that our children are only safe in schools but it also means that our health system is not as strong. Because, when the curfews and lockdowns happened, they affected young people’s ability to access health care, for example access to information about their sexuality, contraceptives and so on. So how are we ensuring that information from health centres gets down to the homes of our people in the villages?” he asked.
He also explained that the pregnancies which led to abortions happened in homes, it means their is a gap between parents and children.
“The parents at home are not doing enough to empower the young people on issues of sexuality and information about their reproductive health. An empowered person will make an informed decision. If the young people knew the alternative ways of having safe sex, they would make the right decisions. Maybe they would look out for contraceptives, or decide to say no to sex,” he said.
He went on to explain that some parents shy away from the sexual talk with their children because of cultural norms and the belief that exposing them to the information might instead spoil them. It is unfortunate that the children always learn about sex from songs and the internet.
“We need to empower young people with age appropriate and correct information to make the right decisions about their health. By doing this, we wouldn’t be seeing these skyrocketing numbers of teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions.”
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