Exploring the opinions of parents and teachers about young people receiving puberty and sex education in rural Kenya: a qualitative study

Journal articles
20 p.
Periodical title
British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research, 4 (4), 1014-1033

In Kenya, one of the most significant public health concerns is the spread of HIV. Additionally, 13,000 girls drop out of school every year due to pregnancy. Although the Kenyan Ministry of Education and other independent organisations have tried to implement various means of developing puberty and sexual health education for young people, the situation is not improving. Aims: To explore the opinions of teachers and parents in rural Kenya about delivering puberty and sex education and to identify their perceptions of barriers to young people accessing this education. Study Design: Qualitative study. Place and Duration of Study: Rural Nyanza Province, Western Kenya between January and March 2013. Methodology: semi-structured interviews with 19 teachers and 30 parents following a topic guide to explore their opinions about what young people need to learn about sex education and perceived barriers to accessing that education. The interviews were transcribed and subjected to Framework analysis. Results: Analysis revealed a lack of continuity in teacher training for sex education and discrepancies in what is being taught in schools. It also highlighted internal contradictions in teachers’ and parents’ views about some aspects of sex education, particularly the emphasis on abstinence and negative attitudes towards contraception. Conclusion: Strategies for improvement may include a full evaluation of the formal sex education curriculum and retraining where necessary to ensure consistency in the sexual health messages that are delivered to young people. Additionally, parents and wider
rural communities may need to be better supported in their ways of discussing puberty and sexual health with their children.

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