Promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS Education and Services
The problem and importance of the intervention
Sexual and reproductive health includes physical and physiological processes and functions in addition to psychological and emotional aspects. It encompasses young people’s capacity to decide if and when to have children, the ability to remain free from disease and unplanned pregnancies, freedom to express one’s own sexual identity and feelings in the absence of repression, coercion and sexual violence, and the presence of mutuality and fulfilment in relationships.
Throughout the international literature on reproductive health, and more especially within that pertaining to HIV/AIDS, young people are frequently characterized as being an ‘at risk’ group for STIs, unwanted pregnancy and a variety of other sexual health problems. In some accounts, it is their very ‘youthfulness’, which is seen as the cause of the problem. It is often assumed that young people are or ought to be ‘innocent’ about sexual matters. Yet evidence from around the world shows that many young people are sexually active from their mid-teens. Furthermore, the gap between first sexual experience and the formation of a regular partnership or marriage has increased in recent years. Given this, it is essential that national and international health and development efforts focus on the special needs of young people, particularly in relation to their sexual and reproductive health.
Furthermore, youth is a critical time for laying the foundations for healthy sexuality. Many young people make good use of familial and societal resources to acquire the knowledge, skills and means they need for developing positive approaches to sexuality. However, where such supportive environments are somehow unavailable, a range of inter-linked sexual and reproductive health problems may occur including HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and early childbearing. Globally, especially HIV/AIDS poses an unprecedented threat to the health of young people. The highest rates of infection occur in people aged between 15 and 24 years old. Moreover, in the hardest affected countries, millions of children and young people have lost one or both parents to the epidemic. Yet, not all young people are equally vulnerable.
For effective intervention program in Ethiopia resources alone are not enough. In addition to this, it requires knowledge of the nature of the problem /STI and HIVAIDS/ in our country along with each community and locality contexts. Moreover, socioeconomic and cultural factors (eg, poverty, human rights, religion) that affect the intensification of the problem must be addressed.
In contexts of complex vulnerability such as the above, the existing actors of young people to take charge of their lives may be very limited. Multi-levelled actions, sensitive to the contextual and environmental factors structuring young people’s lives, will be required in order to bring about change. With respect to the promotion of sexual and reproductive health, such measures should aim to create an enabling and supportive environment in which risk reduction can occur. SIT promotion efforts therefore consist of two principal components: the reduction of risk through specific prevention, care and impact-alleviation efforts; and the reduction of vulnerability through more broad based social, cultural and economic change. Generally, for achieving the intervention program behavioral change among the community and truly multispectral response has a significant impact.
Improved behavioral change on sexual and reproductive health practices and reduced new HIV infection among the target groups in the target areas
- Improve people’s knowledge to be more comprehensive on SRH and HIV/AIDS and how to change their knowledge into safe practices
- Nurture the social and cultural environments which protect and advance women’s and adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health
- Increase access to and utilization of family planning methods and ensure safe pregnancy outcomes for 15,000 young girls and mothers (a minimum of 3000 women and girls in each operational area of Nia)
- Contribute towards the reduction of child morbidity and mortality by addressing 10,000 children in the target areas.
- Reduce HIV/AIDS transmission among 15000 the most at-risk population and other community members who face relatively higher risk
- Increase the response of households and community to economic crises inflicted by HIV/AIDs pandemic and the protection
Selected interventions areas
- Human sexuality and gender relations
- Women and girls development
- Adolescent and youth SRH and HIV/AIDS
- Safe motherhood and child survival
- HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Support
- Referral linkages for the target people for SRH and HIV/AIDS services
- Capacity enhancement of in-school and out-of-school clubs to promote SRH and HIV/AIDS education, discussions and dialogues, etc
- Youths in the intervention areas
- Domestic workers/girls and women/
- Commercial sex workers
- Vulnerable women
- A peer education scheme
- Holding ongoing discussion sessions with community leaders to secure long-term support despite the changing nature of migrant communities,
- Using community meetings for the STI and HIV/AIDS education component and using various sport events( Great run, Women run, football…) to bring the communities together,
- Community mobilization through sensitization workshops
- Awareness and Media Engagement