Teen health experts call for promotion of sex education
Adolescent health experts have indicated that educating young people should and is everyone’s responsibility, be it teachers, parents, community leaders and all members of the public.
These cited a “growing information gap” caused by the sidelining of sex education or discussions of responsible parties who blame their counterparts.
Speaking at the Virtual Dialogue on Sex Education yesterday, Quraish Matovu, Youth Coordinator at Reproductive Health Uganda, explained that sex education is crucial and should be accessible to all young people.
“It’s important to understand that when we talk about sexuality education, we’re talking about frank discussions that we would like to have with young people about aspects of their growth model. The result is to ensure young people make conscious and informed decisions,” he said.
Filbert Baguma, the General Secretary of the Uganda National Teachers’ Union (UNATU) noted that before the covid-19 pandemic, some stakeholders undermined and underestimated the work of teachers in terms of guidance and development. counseling young adults on growth and sexuality.
“I think today people can skillfully articulate the work of teachers and it is clearer that children are safer at school than at home. The evidence is there, as you have seen in the media, that a number of girls have been defiled, others pregnant,” he said.
He said once schools fully reopen, a few girls will return to school as many have become or are about to become young mothers.
“It means we have a generation of fathers and mothers who don’t know about parenthood,” he said.
Baguma noted that there is a lack of information about sex education, as parents think it is the role of teachers, and the reverse is true, leaving children caught in the middle.
“This is how these profaners take advantage and offer misleading information for free. In doing so, you will find a pregnant girl who leaves school and starts a new life and this new life is troublesome. It is because the one who defiled her will not agree to accompany her. We have set up a school that will say once a girl gets pregnant don’t bring her back to school because she will set a bad example,” he explained.
Baguma said information gaps left behind by teachers and parents are filled by those who take advantage of the “lost sheep”, guiding them in their disastrous plans.
“Some parents don’t talk to their children because they go to school and it is assumed that the teachers will do what is necessary. Teachers also think that somehow parents talk to their kids and therefore omit certain information and now spoilers are coming and filling in the gaps.
He recommended that these shortcomings be corrected.
“So let’s fill in all those gaps by making sure to save the Ugandan child by making sure to give him information that will help him appreciate his body; so that they keep them well,” Baguma advised.
According to Dr Robert Mutumba, Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health, the ministry has ensured the continuity of essential health services, including adolescent health services, amid the covid-19 pandemic.
“We are also ensuring that health workers are oriented on providing health services to adolescents in a friendly way. Previously, we had a scenario where most of these young people did not receive the warm welcome that they should have had in most of these establishments. So we are putting in place training for these health workers on providing adolescent-friendly or adapted services,” he said.