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Health issues in Africa are the main concerns for the death rates and suffrages of many people in the continent. It is an acknowledgement that, most of the youth in budding countries undergo various challenges in their lives and the whole well being. These challenges are related to their sexual behaviour of which, if they do not get proper guidance and counselling while still at their teenage years, then they are likely to be lured to drugs and substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies. All this issues tend to reduce the life span of an average African.
The issue of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) is a common thing in Nigeria whose development is surrounded by the sexual and reproductive issues afflicting nearly 33 percent (45.4 million) of the youths of the Nigeria’s total population which goes up to 148.1 million people (Melodi, 2011). Majority of the young persons of even 20 to 24 years of age are being involved in pre-marital sex with no protection long before they are ready for the consequences that come with being involved with such behaviours which leads to the HIV/AIDS, unplanned teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortion and substance abuse.
In the new millennium as it is, there has been a rapid increase in the new cases of STI infections. These STI infections have risen from 1.4 percent in 1991 and 1992 to 5.4 percent in 1999. This is a clear indication that, most youths do not do much in protecting themselves when it comes to sex and some of these diseases can be life endangering (Advocates for Youth, 2011). The age group that has been affected is the reproductive one whom almost 77 percent engage themselves in unprotected sex but a few which are 23 percent are seen to be moderate to the high risks of HIV infections hence affecting even the economic status of the country to the negative side.
Young women in Nigeria are seen to be at most three times at the high risk of being infected with the HIV/AIDS as compared with the young men. The number of unintended pregnancies is about 1.3 million people of which out of that number, 760,000 have been aborted while 54,000 teenage women who are youths die yearly because of the abortions they perform which are known in Nigeria to be illegal or pregnancy-related complications may arise during abortion.
Lack of the sex-related knowledge has lured the youths to contracting some diseases such as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) which involves the HIV/AIDS, gonorrhoea, syphilis and many other diseases, unplanned teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions and even the substance abuse. The sexual health programmes which have been formed in Nigeria to support the youths and give them the knowledge needed about the implications of early sex have received little support from the youths themselves and the surrounding at large (West, 2005). This has become a challenge towards the developments and implementations of the sexual health Programmes in Nigeria. Other challenges are such as local adaptations, making the course mandatory or optional, organizing the course, training teachers and selecting and motivating teachers.
Nevertheless, given the support they need, then these programmes are in the position of meeting the young people’s reproductive needs and sexual health needs. Despite of some strategies being formed on how to change the perception of what the youths have towards those programmes or even to educate the unaware youths who do not know anything about those programmes, convincing them has been a hard rock to crack. That is why this proposal is meant to come up with a way of reducing and preventing new incidents of STIs by educating the youth on the ways of protecting themselves and also try to reduce those factors that encourage such practices (Speizer, 2001).
There are going to be four specific ways of dealing with such issues which are:
The Stakeholders Involvement
This should be done by wholly involving the various fragments of the society such as the youths, religion leaders, and many more. However, since the youths are the first hand affected by such sexual issues, then they should be given the first hand information on the trials that they are likely to undergo through in their teenage life. In our particular situation concerning the STIs, the youths are in the highest risk of getting such diseases because they at a stage where they are sexually active. It is from them that the various methods of prevention can be attained by knowing what causes them to have irresponsible sexual behaviour.
Having known the causes, sharing of experiences between the developing countries and also between the individuals, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and or government and there agencies in developing countries would boost in tackling such issues. Reasons for the developing countries involvement is that, with the sharing of the information on strategies, those organizations in the developing countries can help to improve the Nigerian programmes and policies by encouraging more resources and also advance in achieving their objectives.
This kind of integration between Nigeria and developing countries is the best solution since it can improve the health programs such as the family planning issues, HIV preventions and the AIDS treatment among the youths in Nigeria. This can be done through the sharing of the evaluated, culturally appropriate and highly effective strategies and programmes. These programmes can tae place through the social networks, educating the youths in schools, colleges or universities and even at the working places, seminar meetings and conferences and the involvement of the media and exchange of information, technical, assistance and even training.
Health Needs Assessment
The Health needs assessment is a systematic method for reviewing the health issues facing a given population, leading to agreed prior success story about an intervention. This is important as it assists in uniting a community for a common cause that affects them directly in the community. It improves the community status by having more communication channels and proper use of resources in the community to ensure that the less fortunate are not forced into vices that can threaten their lives (Erulkar Et al. 2004). This is normally done by having intensive research on the factors influencing the community problems as were observed below:
In Nigeria, there is need to address the social context in which decisions are made by the young people about the idea of sex and reproduction. Some make wrong choices such as involving in such things as prostitution because of luck of choice for something better to do and a bid to have more in life than what they can afford. In some parts, they cannot even afford to buy condoms for protection or their sexual partners do not allow them to use them (Brieger Et al. 2001). Women are considered to be inferior in the African communities and this makes them vulnerable to such risks. The proposal suggests that there be equal opportunity for both sexes in society.
Open communication through the mass media can be of help in eradicating those taboos from discussing the adolescent sexuality and can also help in providing the information needed, redefine the social norms and change the attitudes of the youths and their behaviours.
Traditional beliefs such as the inheritance of women after death of a husband and the witch craft practices do not encourage otherwise. Orientation women are supposed to be submissive and should not be in a situation where they have power and authority. Dropping issues that do not favour modern person should be abolished. Early marriages, forced marriages and polygamy in African communities should also be abolished because this behaviour is highly practised hence triggering the spread of this sexually transmitted diseases from one wife to another.
Schools should instil the important information on health and human relations since illiteracy has made people especially the youths not to be aware of the risks that they involve themselves in when it comes to sexual matters. This article is meant to propose that sexual education programs should be embraced so as to help the young people improve their reproductive health. This implementation of sexual education will help reduce the chances of engaging in first sexual intercourse at the early ages, reduce the number of partners one has, increase the contraceptive use such as the condoms among those who are sexually active so as to avoid unwanted pregnancies and prevention of STIs, reduce early child marriages and also improve nutritional status of the youths.
If such programs are adhered to, then this will provide the young people with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills about the consequences of active sex involvements (Chao-Hua Et al 2004). Accessibility of hospitals with counsellors on the issues of reproductive health should be made available to all the people. The media, peer education and youth friendly services should also be involved. Parents have been known not taking the initiative of talking to their children on matters concerning the sexual related topics but instead they have left it to teachers to educate them or even leave for youths themselves to discover on their own. They even shy off giving to the youths the advice on issues that can help them in saving their lives. We would like the parents to get involved and be on the fore front in making their children knowledgeable of matters concerning sex.
Strong religious backgrounds assist in keeping chastity and could reduce on caches of the spread of STIs among the youths. Not only that but also the unwanted pregnancies, early marriages should be looked upon also in the religion set up.
The issue of Peer pressure should be looked upon by the religion sector since it is one of the key thing that is leading the youths to seek information from non-formal sources such as their fellow youths. Curiosity can make the youth want to experiment and find out for themselves what is mostly done with elderly persons than themselves (Policyproject, 2004). Some of these issues aim at only taking advantage of the young person’s mind and making them contract sexual transmitted diseases hence leaving them helpless with lots of regrets in life. We would propose that the youths should be provided with proper guidance and counselling in the community to help them avoid getting into such traps.
Poverty (involve immigration by rural-urban migration) the overpopulation and lack of resources leaves the youths desperate hence influencing them into using substance drugs which may lead them to early sexual behaviour unwanted pregnancies which may make them contract the STIs diseases . More jobs should be made available to prevent the migration process and also to curb the activeness in sex since jobs do make the youths very busy hence having no time of thinking about sex.
Upon determining the various factors, partnership of reducing chances of know full spread of the STIs and unwanted pregnancies, it can be a form of community policing over each other. We need to come up with a permanent way of reducing the spread of such kind of behaviour and this can be done by treating the already infected and looking for preventive measures, with a data analysis of the exact extent of the effect in terms of age and numbers knowing the determinate factors which gives a setting to prevent the STI disease from spreading (Agha.S 2002).
The proposal will aim at enlightenment over the practice of unprotected sex amongst the youths and encourage more visits to the health facilities with vision and mission for more accession of health information from a variety of sources which will guide them through the protective measures hence making more sound decisions in their sexual lives which will be enough to be able to curb and control STIs.
Protective measures such as the use of condoms will be encouraged if the youths are unable to abstain from sexual issues. Free school-based condom availability will also be encouraged to curb the behaviour which has put so many people in trouble.
Education-wise, a part from the youths being thought about the reproductive anatomy, they should also be thought or given more information concerning their self-esteem and health relationship and the risks involved when engaging to sex without protection (Toledo Et al 2000). This will enlighten the youths from misbehaving through abstinence from sex.
The social determinants of health should be looked upon because this will help by reducing the detrimental impact it can have towards the youth’s health (Speizer Et al 2001). With this put in to consideration, there goal will be to integrate the social determinants into sexual health curricula, ensuring that the government of the day takes the steps needed to eliminate the potential negative impact of the social determinants on the youths sexual behaviour and a part from the government of the day, health care professionals and service providers should also do the same as what the government of the day is doing.
The community should also be engaged so as to promote the positive youth sexual health behaviours. This will help creating the opportunities which allows the community to participate on the issues concerning youth sexual health and also create some standard messages of which will be used by the society to promote youth sexual health behaviours. Training of some members of the community to be health workers will ensure that there is not a chance of a relapse to spread (Dabiri, 2009). With the help of NGOs, sponsored programs and the different organizations funding, the youths can be kept busy to avoid the sex thoughts always. Sensitisation right from the homes will assist in the making of better policies and choices.
A part from educating the members of the community, youths should also be considered since they can also make the appropriate health educators by being drawn to the youth-led programs that are supposed to be innovative, convenient and done in the environment which is very safe. Involvement in planning process of sexual health policies and programs will be of great help.
The use of the media and some electronic communications can be used to spread positive sexual health program messages especially through texting, social networking websites. With all the above put in to place, the challenges mentioned before can be eradicated very easily hence preventing the STIs, use of substance drugs and unwanted pregnancies and the encouragement of Sexual health Programmes for youths in Nigeria.
Meeting the Health care purpose should be encouraged by the government of Nigeria by having more sexual health programmes for the youths which should be opened and supported or sponsored so that they can be able to address the Adolescent Reproductive Health needs of the youths since the magnitude and the dimensions of such problems has made it to become an issue of the world and the national concern.
Encouragement of identifying the risks that are involved and make them be eradicated will help. This should be done through the community empowerment, school education, religion encouragement and the embrace from the traditional believes.
The evaluation process is supposed to involve the knowledge of contraceptives and HIV and AIDS as well as other STIs such Syphilis, knowledge of adolescent sexual health issues, knowledge concerning the issue of counselling, attitudes towards the adolescents and sexual issues and the knowledge and attitude towards the peer education.
However, With this addressed in the evaluation process, it is then clear that, the sexual health Programme for the youths in Nigeria will be effective in terms of knowledge and positive attitude promotion through the process of counselling the youths. This should be done through the proper analysis of the data and improve on the ways of preventing chances of there being an increase while it is already on the down low (Van Rossem & Meekers, 2000). If the effects are suitable for the community then they should still be maintained.
Sexual health Programme for youths in Nigeria is a noble initiative that can be effective in the reduction of the STIs in Africa. HIV/AIDS which is one of the most dangerous and is incurable will be reduced by there being a project of Abstinence, using protection and commitment to one partner thus that way new infections are reduced.