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Expert Urges Parents to Give Their Kids Adolescents Sexuality Education



A child and adolescent mental health analyst, Dr Tolulope Okunowo, has advised parents to educate their adolescents about sexual reproductive health to prevent pre-marital pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

Okunowo, also a Consultant Psychiatrist with the Oshodi Annex of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Yaba, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.

She also advised adolescents to make themselves available for such information that bothered on sexual health to achieve their full potential in life.

“It is very important that as a young person you are informed and aware of your sexual reproduction health.

“It plays a huge factor in your future; get informed, access centres that talk about sexual health and do not be afraid to ask questions.

“The truth is that young people are disproportionately more affected by STIs, including HIV/AIDS than the adult population, because they do not have information.

“Parents themselves need to get informed and be aware of what their children are exposed to, so that they will be more open and feel more comfortable to talk on such issues,’’ she said.

The analyst said there was also need to educate parents more on family planning methods to prevent pregnancies and STIs.

She said that many people had the misconception about adolescents becoming promiscuous when they had access to sexual education, stressing that teaching adolescents particularly girls about reproductive health and sexuality would not make them to be promiscuous.

She explained that such education would prepare and provide them with the adequate knowledge on the inherent dangers in pre-marital sex.

She said that parents needed to start educating their children and wards on sex and related issues from ages 12 to 15, saying that was part of parenting responsibilities.

“If we do a survey, out of 100, a good proportion of young people are sexually active.

“So, it is more effective giving young people information to know the choices they can make, because they are still going to be exposed to them.

“When we teach adolescent girls about pre-marital sex; we are trying to give them information about sexual and reproductive health issues so that if they are sexually active they know where to go for advice,’’ she said.

Okunowo said inadequate health facilities that provided information on sexual education remained a major challenge to young people who sought to access information.

According to her, there is not much of receptiveness from the health system for young people to get information.

The analysts emphasised the need to teach adolescents about their sexual rights to be able to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

She said, “We find out that a lot of times when teenagers get pregnant, their lives stop, and for most of them, it feels like they have nothing to look up to or be hopeful for.

“The mistake could have been prevented if they were aware of contraceptives and know how to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

“We believe that youths will be fulfilled and able to achieve their maximum potential if they have access to the right information.”(NAN)

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