Rwanda: Parent-Child Conversations on Sexual Reproductive Health Rare – Study
A new study carried out across seven districts of Rwanda has shown that many youth are reluctant to talk to their parents about sexual and reproductive health.
The study was commissioned by the Society for Family Health (SFH) and conducted with technical and financial support of Enabel (Belgian Development Agency) through its Barame Project and the Rwanda Biomedical Center through its Maternal Child and Community Health (MCCH) Division.
718 youth in Gakenke, Gisagara, Karongi, Nyamasheke, Nyarugenge, Rulindo and Rusizi districts were reached out between September and October last year.
It used structured questionnaires to collect data from young people aged 10 to 24.
According to its findings, 57 per cent of the young people sampled said they had never had discussions about sexual and reproductive health with their fathers, while 31 percent said they had not had such discussions with their mothers.
However, when they were asked if they would be comfortable to talk to their fathers about it, 16 per cent said they would find it “very easy,” while 49 per cent said it would be “easy or somehow.”
When it comes to talking to their mothers, 25 percent of the sampled youth said they think it would be “very easy,” while 59 percent said it would be “easy or somehow.”
Veronique Zinnen, the Intervention Manager at the Barame Project said the findings of the study can be used to develop “evidence-based strategies” for addressing the gaps that are there in regard to sexual reproductive health.
Speaking at the event organised to launch the report, Dr Daniel Ngamije, the Minister of Health, said the risks of neglecting access to sexual reproductive health “are great and lead to a painful or damaging transition to adulthood.”
“Adolescents in Rwanda, like other Sub-Saharan African countries, still face challenges while trying to improve Sexual Reproductive Health services including cultural myths and beliefs, peer pressure, and limited availability of trained health care providers capable to cater for the adolescent needs,” he noted.
He highlighted that a lot has been achieved by the country, to respond to the needs of adolescents while respecting their rights and encouraging their participation.
Here for example, he said that from 2014/2015 to 2019/2020, the proportion of teenagers bearing children dropped from 7.2 to 5.2 percent.
“Rwanda has a vision of having a healthy, sound and productive future generation which is economically empowered. To reach this vision, it requires coordinated multisectoral efforts from the community, partners, civil societies, ministries and different stakeholders through different strategic interventions,” he noted.