The Importance of accessing SRH Information and Services by Nesipho Zamaswazi Tshabalala

January 10, 2023
Amplify Girls Voices

The ultimate goal of any sexual and reproductive health program is to ensure cost effectiveness, quality and sustainability. Reproductive health awareness is an educational approach which is both relevant and sensitive to many communities’ existing sexual and reproductive health needs and concerns. When working with community groups, a participatory approach that includes reproductive health awareness concepts is a simple non-threatening way for programs to quickly expand beyond pure information giving and exploring what reproductive health means to people.

Although many community sexual and reproductive health programs do not use the term reproductive health awareness, they use techniques similar to the reproductive health awareness education approach, when facilitating discussions about sexual or reproductive health. If reproductive health awareness is identified and included as one of the dimensions of future sexual and reproductive health programs, this will hopefully strengthen the program’s overall quality and effectiveness.

Most young people experience confusing and conflicting information about relationships and sexuality as they change from childhood to adulthood. This has led to an increase in the need for young people to access reliable information, which prepares them for a secure and fulfilling sex life. Properly implemented, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) responds to this need, empowering young people to make informed decisions about relationships and sex in world where gender-based violence, gender inequality, early and unintended pregnancies, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) pose serious risks to their health and well-being. Equally, the lack of quality, age appropriate, developmental sex education and relationship education may leave children and adolescents at risk for sexual misconduct and sexual exploitation.

CSE plays an important role in addressing the health and well-being of children and adolescents. Using a student-centred approach, CSE not only provides children and young people with age-appropriate education and categories on human rights, gender equality, relationships, fertility, sexual risks and health bans, but also provides opportunities for gender expression in a straight forward way, emphasizing values such as respect, inclusion, non-discrimination, equality, compassion, responsibility and reconciliation.

National healthcare systems rarely prioritize sexual and reproductive health (SRH), and the Covid-19 pandemic has made it extremely difficult to access SRH services because the current health regulations make it difficult for many people to seek care. In addition public health efforts to advise women and girls on how and when to seek SRH services are limited. Many SRH specialists are not able to function effectively during the epicentre of the pandemic, and funding is redirected to efforts to respond to COVID-19. Delays in SRH care will inevitably lead to other health problems, including an increase in the number of unintended pregnancies, illegal abortions that may lead to injury or death and sexually transmitted diseases.

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