“Growing up in a typical African home, girls are usually told not to bring home a pre-marital pregnancy and boys not to impregnate someone’s daughter out of wedlock. This threat by parents and guardians poses a mystery to the African child of how exactly this said “evil” happens.
“They are never given the full detail on how pregnancy actually happens. This points to a very large gap in sexuality education. The little information got is from the senior women and men teachers in schools which is usually not comprehensive.
“Because of the lack of a central source of correct information, they end up getting mixed up theories from their peers which is prone to myths and misconceptions. We have all heard ridiculous pregnancy prevention myths like “you won’t get pregnant if you have sex during periods, if you take coca-cola after sex, if you have sex while standing, name them. The end result is at times unwanted pregnancy. Remembering the “don’t get pregnant” threat from home, the young person turns to her friends for a solution which is… often unsafe abortion.
“In 2018, the Ministry of Education Uganda launched the national sexuality education framework which faced challenges and has not been actualized. We cannot sit and wait for the government to act, as empowered young people, we can start by seeking as much information as possible about sexual reproductive health from health workers, peer educators, the internet, and the whole expanse of information sources but be sure to clarify with a trained person.
“After acquiring this information, please share it! Instead of talking about the latest celebrity breakup, informing your friend, sister, neighbour, or girlfriend about how they can take control of their fertility and sexuality would be a lifesaving move.
“For cases of rape, the survivors can make use of emergency contraception* to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Prevention can be in the form of using condoms correctly and consistently, abstaining from sex, or choosing a contraceptive (pregnancy prevention method) from the wide range of available options.
“Take charge of your sexuality, seek as much information as possible to make informed decisions!!”
* Note: The EC pill called Levonelle has to be taken within 72 hours (three days) of sex, and the one called ellaOne has to be taken within 120 hours (five days) of sex. Both work by preventing or delaying ovulation (release of an egg).
SOURCE: RedPepper Editorial, by Doreen N Kyampeire, 18 September 2020 ; PHOTO: Doreen Kyampeire