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Sierra Leone News: Children and young people need reproductive health education

A community resident asking about contraceptives “I never discussed reproductive health or educated my children about their body, as they grow into adulthood, said Amara Samai, a father of four children from Moriba town, Imperi Chiefdom, Southern Sierra Leone.
He gets his livelihood from subsistence farming, but unfortunately his eldest daughter got pregnant at age 14, when she was in JSS II, and as she dropped out of school, she now has three children, and has not reached 30 years.
Like Amara Samai’s daughter, so many other unfortunate sad stories were told of young girls dropping out of school and becoming pregnant, due to lack of proper sexual reproductive health education and puberty, which should give them adequate knowledge about their body. Amara Samai informed the open air community held outreach education, that tradition made him not discuss sexual health with his children, especially using the condom and contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to practice safe sex behaviors. He says he now contributes to take care of his three grand children from his first daughter, and another two who are in school. “I have learnt a lot and will not make the same mistake I did with my first child, which has made me not to grow financially”.
At Mogbwemo and Moriba towns, Imperi chiefdom community residents present realized that too many children and unwanted pregnancies are factors responsible for poverty, especially within an uneducated circle.
The educators informed that contraceptives, condoms and implants help protect both men and women from STI’s, HIV, unwanted pregnancies, and to give them control over when they want to start a family. Only 16% of women are using contraceptives and girls between 15-19 years is almost 8%. This is one of the reasons why STI’s and HIV are high among young sexually active people in the country.
Health workers at the Sierra Rutile constructed clinic and the Government Peripheral Health Unit confirmed that teenage pregnancy rate is high in Imperi Chiefdom, and the reason being is some parents cannot adequately provide for their children, and the chiefdom is a mining area, therefore mine workers take advantage of situation to lure young girls to sleep with them.
By Ade Campbell
Friday July 14, 2017.

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