Exploring Adolescent Reproductive Health Knowledge, Perceptions, and Behavior
In a conservative society like Bangladesh, reproductive health education for adolescents is one of the less discussed issues. This qualitative study explored students’ reproductive health knowledge, perceptions, and behavior. The findings designated that there is a lack of knowledge on reproductive health among the adolescent girls and boys of rural secondary schools. The students did not know about physical changes in puberty before the onset of such changes and mostly learnt about them from their own bodily experience. Mothers were the main source of information on menstruation for girls, and in case of boys, friends were the main source of information on wet dreams. All girls had comparatively good menstrual hygiene knowledge and practices. On the other hand, boys had very poor knowledge about wet dreams. Both girls and boys had poor knowledge about sexually transmitted diseases. However, they had better knowledge and perceptions about AIDS, in comparison with other issues of adolescent reproductive health. Though teachers and students felt uncomfortable with the teaching of reproductive health issues in class, but, interestingly, books were found to be the most reliable source of information for the students. Most of the students and teachers felt that the available information was inadequate for the adolescents. The study findings also showed that adolescent boys and girls had limited knowledge about reproductive health. Therefore, it is recommended that BRAC Education Program needs to provide adolescent reproductive health education in the school through peer education approach and provide special training to the teachers on teaching reproductive health education in class as well.
Aktar, B., Sarker, M., & Jenkins, A. (2014). Exploring Adolescent Reproductive Health Knowledge, Perceptions, and Behavior, Among Students of Non-Government Secondary Schools Supported by BRAC Mentoring Program in Rural Bangladesh. Journal of Asian Midwives (JAM), 1(1), 17-33.
Photo Reference: Lachmin, BALIKA participant in Narail, Bangladesh