Stakeholders working with adolescents in Lagos State has charged parents to initiate early sexuality education for youths as well as adolescents in order to reduce deaths from unplanned pregnancy and unsafe abortions.
Speaking to journalists at an event in Lagos, the Executive Director, Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF), Mr Iwalola Jimoh, stated in his presentation; “Creating Safe Spaces For Adolescents and Youths in Nigeria (Life skills for Adolescents and Youths,” that creating safe spaces for children and adolescents involves taking responsibility for children safety, building a continuous empowerment on life skill and encouraging young people to speak out.
He said, “by the United Nations standard, a youth is between the ages of 15 and 24 years, while an adolescent is between the ages of 10 and 19 years. These set of individuals deserve correct and accurate age appropriate information on their reproductive health and sexuality.”
Jimoh said that parents and guardians should at all times make themselves available and seen for young people, adding that a lot of needs are however not met as a result of poverty.
Giving her presentation themed; “Practical ways to introducing adolescents and youth to sexuality and reproductive health information”, the
Behavioral Management Coach, Wemimo Adebiyi, stated “as adults, we really make a difference when we talk to young ones. As teens often see it as a big influence in their decisions about sex and maturity especially when it comes to their sexuality.”
She however pointed out that it is of importance to give truthful, useful and accurate information about sex as well as sexuality information to adolescents, stressing that it helps to prepare teens in making responsible choices whenever they become sexually active.
According to Adebiyi, “at 19 years of age, 70 percent of teens have had sex. It is no longer a word of ‘don’t have sex’. So, in addition to conveying what you know about sexual relationship, it is important to talk to teens about abstinence, preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection. It helps to think ahead of time what messages we want to express.
“55 percent abortion rate reported yearly per 1,000 women, half of that number are adolescents out of unsafe sex which resulted to unplanned pregnancy.
“Unsafe sex practices also exposed them to Sexually Transmitted Infections, (STIs) and HIV with a prevalence of 25 percent among adolescent in the southeastern and 28 percent in the northern part of the country.”
Adebiyi however said, that the lack of adequate information on the part of the adolescent about contraception has also been found to be responsible for the unplanned pregnancy among adolescents which in most cases end up in unsafe abortion.
She advised parents and guardians to teach their children from age two to five the body parts including; private, public and sensitive parts.
Adebiyi also called on parents to give real names to body parts and avoid giving made-up names as it makes kids to think that there is something weird or shameful about their body as, “adolescents will be less likely to tell their parents when someone touches them.”