Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices on Sexual and Reproductive Health Issues of Students at University of Nairobi
Objective: To investigate factors associated with occurrence of unwanted pregnancies and uptake of sexual and reproductive health information and services.
Design: Cross sectional descriptive Setting: Students’ hostels University of Nairobi.
Subjects or participants: Students of University of Nairobi.
Interventions: Focus group discussion Main outcome measures: Health issues; Unwanted pregnancies; Information on RH and abortion.
Within the framework of WHO's definition of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, reproductive health addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life.
The right to reproductive health has been endorsed and strengthened in successive international forums, particularly at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) 1994 in Cairo1 the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995)2 and the World Summit for Social Development (Copenhagen, 1995)3.
The critical importance of reproductive health to development has been acknowledged at the highest level. UNFPA during the World Summit 2005, fully committed to mobilizing support and scaling up efforts to make reproductive health for all a reality by 20154.
As many young people approach adulthood faced with conflicting and confusing messages about sexuality and gender often exacerbated by embarrassment, silence and disapproval of open discussion of sexual matters by adults, including parents and teachers, at the very time when it is most needed, access to structured Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) among young people 15-24 years of age is one of the known ways of addressing adverse reproductive health outcomes5.
Several factors including health facility, knowledge, social and economic factors have been found to be interacting with the access of sexual reproductive health services by undergraduate students6. Though for both physiological and social reasons, mothers aged 15 to 19 are twice as likely to die in childbirth as those in their 20s, and girls under age 15 are five times as likely to die as women in their 20s, young women and adolescent girls have limited access to SRHR education and services, they face more reproductive health problems including sexually transmitted infections, unsafe abortion, and sexual violence among others5. Lack of CSE, adverse sexuality outcomes increase among young people including sexually transmitted infections, early pregnancy and unsafe abortion which is likely to continue if urgent remedial action is not taken.
Results and conclusion
On health problems, STIs, HIV/AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse were mentioned. On unwanted pregnancies, these were common and were generally terminated. Methods of termination mentioned included drinking concentrated tea leaves and other concoctions, overdosing with tablets from the chemist and taking misoprostol. On information on RH and abortion the requested information was on sexuality and not abortion. On sources of the information, the university clinic and academic sources were mentioned. On persons providing information and support to students, student leaders, the university clinic and lecturers were the preferred. Main barriers to receiving information from the school clinic included negative attitudes and poor practices of nurses. An assessment of the health problems facing the students be done and services structured to be responsive to the problems. Multidisciplinary fora for discussing sexual and reproductive health matters be set up. A retraining and reorientation of university health workers in particular the nurses be done periodically.