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Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls: Determinants, utilization, and role of adolescent peer educators. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:519-20
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Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Sexual and reproductive health needs of women and girls: Determinants, utilization, and role of adolescent peer educators. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2021 Mar 7];10:519-20. Available from: https://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/3/519/213167
Meeting the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs of women and adolescent girls is one of the key priorities of the global stakeholders. These needs become even more crucial in low- and middle-income nations owing to the lack of political commitment, non-prioritization of the issue among the other public health problems, existing weaknesses in the health care delivery system, poor community-based activities, no systematic involvement of the concerned stakeholders, absent or intermittent supply of logistics, lack of awareness among the general population, and the existing myths and misconceptions, including stigma associated with the conditions among the population.,
Moreover, considering the share of the adolescent girls and women in the total global population, it is a crucial issue and has to be dealt with effectively. Even though, some of the nations have made significant progress in addressing some of the issues; nevertheless, the access to each of the planned measures or appropriate legal support or constant financial investment to implement the welfare measure for a prolonged period of time still remains questionable., Furthermore, adolescent girls are exposed to a wide range of serious SRH problems, like early pregnancy, pregnancy and childbirth-related complications, unsafe abortions, sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, and sexually transmitted infections.,,
It is very important to understand that any investment in the health status of young people is extremely crucial for any nation’s socioeconomic development, and that the access or utilization of the SRH services is limited due to the prevalent sociocultural norms or taboos which forces women to be afraid or ashamed, judgmental or unsupportive outlook of the health care professionals, serious concerns about lack of confidentiality and privacy, involved monetary expenditure, and even a negative opinion of either parents or the community toward health- seeking behaviors of adolescents.,, In addition, factors like distant health care establishments, offering poor quality of service, inconvenient timings, and unaffordable services have also prevented women to avail the needed health services.,
Furthermore, in most of the communities, the prevailing perception is that youth should not be communicated on sexuality issues until they marry.
A couple of decades back, this thought could be considered, but in today’s scenario, most of the youth actually has incomplete information, often obtained from unreliable sources and which is even wrong, sometimes. To further complicate the matter, even most of the parents or teachers either are very much reluctant to communicate about the premarital sex/necessity of protection and are not aware about the necessity of such talk or the appropriate age to discuss the matter and often, lack the information and skills to tackle the issue with the adolescents before they actually get involved in such relations.,,
In order to deal with this neglected issue, the United Nations Population Fund has initiated a program with the help of adolescent peer educators in the entire nation of Honduras. Since its inception, in excess of 1,500 adolescents have been trained and these educators have adopted different strategies to spread awareness about SRH issues, like health talks in different settings, uploading videos on YouTube, role plays, puppet shows, and setting up of a Question Box in schools to answer the queries/myths of different anonymous people, so as to spread awareness among the targeted as well as the general population. In short, it is supporting the mission of creation of an enabling environment to not only support women empowerment, but even assists women understand their rights, and live a dignified life.
To conclude, a wide range of factors has plagued the progress and the reach of the SRH services under different settings. Thus, the need of the hour is to have a concerted effort from all stakeholders to improve the service utilization and thereby reduce the burden of these conditions and its long-term after effects.
SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.
PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.
JR contributed in revising the draft, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
UNFPA. Spreading the word: Youth educators provide sexual and reproductive health outreach in Honduras; 2016. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/spreading-word-youth-educators-provide-sexual-and-reproductive-health-outreach-honduras. [Last accessed on 2016 Jul 24].
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Khalajabadi-Farahani F. Unmet needs of adolescent and young people’s sexual and reproductive health in Iran. J Reprod Infertil 2015;16:121-2.
Ayehu A, Kassaw T, Hailu G. Level of young people sexual and reproductive health service utilization and its associated factors among young people in Awabel District, Northwest Ethiopia. PLoS One 2016;11:e0151613.
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None