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UNESCO HIV and Health Education Clearinghouse

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  1. 25 years after Cairo: accelerating Africa's promise; fast-tracking progress in achieving good sexual reproductive health and rights outcomes and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals

    This issue of the African Development Perspectives addresses sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Africa, with the backdrop of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (PoA), signed by 179 governments twenty-five years ago, in 1994, in Cairo, Egypt, and the Nairobi Summit in November 2019, where delegates will converge to reaffirm the commitments to accelerate the promises made at the 1994 Conference. …

  2. Adolescent schoolgirls’ experiences of menstrual cups and pads in rural western Kenya: a qualitative study

    Poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) among schoolgirls in low income countries affects girls' dignity, self-esteem, and schooling. Hygienic, effective, and sustainable menstrual products are required. A randomized controlled feasibility study was conducted among 14-16-year-old girls, in 30 primary schools in rural western Kenya, to examine acceptability, use, and safety of menstrual cups or sanitary pads. Focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted to evaluate girls' perceptions and experiences six months after product introduction. …

  3. The revised international technical guidance on sexuality education - a powerful tool at an important crossroads for sexuality education

    In January 2018, UNESCO, together with UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women, and the WHO, completed the substantial technical and political process of updating the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, thereby unifying a UN position on rationale, evidence, and guidance on designing and delivering comprehensive sexuality education (CSE).

  4. Challenges to implementing national comprehensive sexuality education curricula in low- and middle-income countries: case studies of Ghana, Kenya, Peru and Guatemala

    School-based comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) can help adolescents achieve their full potential and realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights. This is particularly pressing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where high rates of unintended pregnancy and STIs among adolescents can limit countries’ ability to capitalize on the demographic dividend. While many LMICs have developed CSE curricula, their full implementation is often hindered by challenges around program planning and roll-out at the national and local level. …

  5. Parents’ and teachers’ views on sexual health education and screening for sexually transmitted infections among in-school adolescent girls in Kenya: a qualitative study

    Background: To successfully develop and implement school-based sexual health interventions for adolescent girls, such as screening for Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Trichomonas vaginalis, it is important to understand parents’ and teachers’ attitudes towards sexual health education and acceptability of sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening interventions. Methods: In this qualitative study, we approached parents and teachers from three high schools to participate in in-depth interviews (IDIs) and focus-group discussions (FGDs). …

  6. Learners’ perspectives on the provision of condoms in South African public schools

    A stubborn health challenge for learners in South African public schools concerns sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). In 2015, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) proposed the provision of condoms and SRHR-services to learners in schools. This study aimed to contribute to the finalisation and implementation of DBE’s policy by exploring learners’ perspectives on the provision of condoms and SRHR-services in schools. …

  7. How reliable are reports of early adolescent reproductive and sexual health events in demographic and health surveys?

    CONTEXT: Age at sexual debut, age at first marriage or first union and age at first birth are among the most widely used indicators of health and well-being for female adolescents. However, the accuracy of estimates for these indicators, particularly for younger adolescents, is poorly understood. METHODS: For each of nine countries in Africa and Latin America, Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from two surveys conducted five years apart were used to examine women’s reports of age at sexual debut, marriage or first union, and first birth. …

  8. Scaling up comprehensive sexuality education in Nigeria: from national policy to nationwide application

    Nigeria is one of few countries that reports having translated national policies on school-based comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) into near-nationwide implementation. We analysed data using the World Health Organization-ExpandNet framework, which provides a systematic structure for planning and managing the scaling up of health innovations. We examined how Nigeria's nationwide programme was designed and executed. Since 2002, Nigeria has developed a well thought through strategy to scale up CSE. …

  9. Sexual and reproductive health and rights for the next decades: What's been achieved? What lies ahead?

    This Global Public Health Special Issue ‘SRHR for the next decades: What's been achieved? What lies ahead?’ assesses progress 20 years after the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), which established the sexual and reproductive health and rights framework for population and health policy (United Nations [UN], 1995). …

  10. The shrinking world of girls at puberty: violence and gender-divergent access to the public sphere among adolescents in South Africa

    Participatory mapping was undertaken with single-sex groups of grade 5 and grade 8–9 children in KwaZulu-Natal. Relative to grade 5 students, wide gender divergence in access to the public sphere was found at grade 8–9. With puberty, girls' worlds shrink, while boys' expand. At grade 5, female-defined community areas were equal or larger in size than those of males. Community area mapped by urban grade 8–9 girls, however, was only one-third that of male classmates and two-fifths that of grade 5 girls. Conversely, community area mapped by grade 8–9 boys was twice that of grade 5 boys. …

  11. National policies on pregnancy in education systems in sub-Saharan Africa: the case of Botswana

    The article critiques pregnancy policies in the education systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Policies discussed are divided into expulsion, re-entry and continuation policies. Arguing from the standpoint of theories of oppression, it is postulated that expulsion policies symbolise direct violence against girls who become pregnant and are more common in those countries with poor human rights records. …

  12. Challenges of school re-entry among teenage mothers in primary schools in Muhoroni district, Western Kenya

    Much has been done towards attainment of gender equity in education as envisaged in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), yet gender disparities persist in many parts of the country. Studies indicate that most of girls who drop out of school do not return to class after childbirth despite provisions for it. The purpose of this study was to examine factors that influence re-entry of school girl mothers in primary schools in Muhoroni District, Kisumu County in western Kenya. …

  13. Experiences of pregnant adolescents - voices from Wakiso district, Uganda

    Background: In Uganda, morbidity and mortality among adolescent mothers and their children are high. Social factors behind this problem need to be better understood. Objective: To explore problems that pregnant adolescents face in order to design appropriate policies and interventions. Methods: This was a descriptive study that utilized qualitative methods for data collection. The study population comprised of pregnant adolescents, adolescent mothers, opinion leaders, In-charge of health unit, and Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in Wakiso district, Uganda. …

  14. Unintended pregnancies among young women living in urban slums: Evidence from a prospective study in Nairobi City, Kenya

    Background: Despite the significant proportion of young people residing in slum communities, little attention has been paid to the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) challenges they face during their transition to adulthood within this harsh environment. Little is known about the extent to which living in extreme environments, like slums, impact SRH outcomes, especially during this key developmental period. …

  15. A review of interventions addressing structural drivers of adolescents' sexual and reproductive health vulnerability in sub-Saharan Africa: implications for sexual health programming

    Background: Young people particularly women are at increased risk of undesirable sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes. Structural factors have been reported as driving some of these risks. Although several interventions have targeted some of the structural drivers for adolescent’s SRH risk, little has been done to consolidate such work. This would provide a platform for coordinated efforts towards adolescent’s SRH. …

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