NPB Students Schooled on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights

Students of NPB Listening to gender talk by Gender Justice at the Amphi-1000

Students of NPB Listening to gender talk by Gender Justice at the Amphi-1000

Addressing the sexual and reproductive health rights need of young people in Cameroon, remains an important step in reducing new HIV/AIDS infections, untimed pregnancies, school dropout rates, trafficking, poverty and the many ills that plight youths when they prematurely assume adult roles. It is against this back drop that a Bamenda Based women’s rights organization, Centre for Gender Justice and Women Empowerment (Gender Justice Cameroon) organized a mass sensitization exercise with students of the National Polytechnic Bamenda (NPB) on June 1, 2016 at the Amphi-100 of the institute.

 The sensitization exercise which focused on raising awareness on the sexual and reproductive health rights of young people also had as objective to inform the students on the different services offered by the Centre for Gender Justice and Women Empowerment which are very youth friendly and would meet their unmet needs for family planning since a majority of them are already sexually active.

Raising Student’s Awareness On Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights

Speaking to the press on what prompted the organization of such a sensitization meeting in an institution like the NPB, the Coordinator of the Centre for Gender Justice Cameroon, Jane Frances Mufua, said she interacts with students on a daily basis and following the outcome of a random survey which she carried out with the student population on issues related to their Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHRs), she realized that, the students did are not adequately aware or informed of their SRHRs. According to her, this is a problem because if the students don’t have adequate knowledge on issues regarding their sexuality, they will not be able to make informed choices.

When quizzed further whether such a campaign would not increase sexual promiscuity amongst young people, Jane Francis Mufua said “there is nothing as good as having information. Information is power and if the young men and women adequately know the consequences of their actions, or where to access services when in trouble, many of the negative effects that come as results of untimed births or unwanted pregnancies or new cases of HIV/AIDS infections would be avoided and these students would concentrate on studying”

She went further to add that according to statistics there are close to 32% illegal abortions committed by young girls and statistics from the National AIDS Control Committee (NACC) says there are 141 new HIV infections every day with six infections per hour and young women represent seven in 10 (70%) of all youth ages 15– 24 who are HIV positive, and this higher rate of infection is projected to continue over the next 10 years. Thus revelations like this one she added will leave no one interested in an HIV/AIDS free Cameroon indifferent.

Jane Francis Cordinator GJC speaking to students of NPB

Jane Francis Cordinator GJC speaking to students of NPB

The over one hour highly interactive sensitization talk dwelt on issues like menstrual cycle, personal hygiene, efficient use of sanitary pads, sexually transmissible infections, early pregnancies, relations between opposite sexes, adults and youths, the impact of early sex on their health, education and their future, how and where to get reproductive health information and counseling amongst others.

The initiative was appreciated by most of the students who acknowledged that there were still very ignorant of some of the issues raise and some even promised to visit the Centre for Gender Justice to get more information on the services they offer and especially on how they can stay sexually healthy. Others expressed their desires to have condoms while others asked to for confidential place to carryout screening for HIV/AIDS, away from the school meddling crowd on campus.

by Ako Emmanuel

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