Secondary education and the promotion of adolescents’ reproductive health services: A case of Kampala Secondary Schools, Uganda
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The growing incidence of adolescents engaging in sexual activity contributing to spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has increased concern for the sexual and reproductive health of youths in recent years. Consequently, this study investigated secondary educations’ role in helping adolescents in schools (12 -19 years) use school-based sources of sexual and reproductive health services to obtain information and advice that can improve their quality lives. Specifically, the study sought to identify the ASRHS available in secondary schools, the effectiveness of ASRHS as well as the behavioral, environmental and personal challenges of implementing ASRHS in secondary education in Kampala District. A descriptive survey research design was adapted where a total sample of 192 respondents including adolescent students, head teachers, senior women/men teachers, staff of sexual and reproductive health NGOs, school nurses and City Education Officer participated in the study. The primary data was collected using structured questionnaires for adolescents, as well as interview guides for key informants. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected and analysed. Research findings revealed that the Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Services (ASRHS) available in Kampala secondary schools were counseling, STI diagnosis and treatment; pregnancy testing, condom supply and sexual reproductive information among others. The ASRHS effectively used included pregnancy tests, contraception and protective method provision, counseling, screening and treatment of STI and HIV; and provision of sexual reproductive information. Challenges to ASRHS utilization included protests from religious leaders, failure to schedule time for sexual and reproductive health issues on the school time table, peer pressure, lack of a private room for RH service consultation at school and difficulty to access ASRHS at school among others. Finally, the study recommended training of service providers in adolescent friendly services, setting adolescent reproductive health service standards for every school, integrate sex education biological subjects in the school curriculum and establishment of a coordinating body that brings together reproductive health stakeholders.