FACTORS AFFECTING REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND EDUCATION IN NIGERIA

Social Issues

  • Author Benjamin Franklin
  • Published August 8, 2022
  • Word count 1,059

FACTORS AFFECTING REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND EDUCATION IN

NIGERIA

Reproductive Health is a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being regarding reproduction and sexuality including when, where and how to reproduce.

Factors That Affect Reproductive Health and Education

• Harmful Social Norms :- These are cultural and social persistent practices and behaviours grounded on discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, age etc. In the case of reproductive health the females are the main victims of these practices. These practices can include: Female Genital Mutilation, Early marriages, Failure to educate the female child in preference to the male, Breast ironing etc.

These archaic practices have severe and harmful effects on the victim both mentally and physically, giving rise to various issues including: Emotional and psychological trauma, Damage to the genitalia, Birth complications in underage mother’s which can lead to death and a variety of physical deformities. Though some of these practices have been abolished some are still being practiced in remote and rural areas by people who know no better.

• Gender Stereotypes:- This is the practice of ascribing to an individual woman or man specific attributes, characteristics or roles by reason only of his or her membership in the social group of men or women. These are ingrained in us from birth due to upbringing and societal beliefs that shape how we view ourselves, others and our roles in society.

These Stereotypes have an adverse effect on reproductive health which arise from the way in which the feminine gender is perceived and portrayed; they are portrayed as weak and are ascribed the role of subservience to their male counterparts, with all major decisions to be undertaken by the oldest male around. These stereotypes can include:

  1. They have no need for an education or job as they will eventually be married off to men who will cater for their needs.

  2. A woman is meant to marry early in life so as to bear children early before being distracted by other frivolities.

  3. A woman with too many friends or who is too outgoing is considered promiscuous.

  4. A woman who makes is not meant to be the head of any organization or institution and if she has a top position there she probably got there by sleeping her way to the top.

The above are a few of the various stereotypes that can hinder reproductive health education in the society, this is because they limit the rights and roles of females in the society.

• Power Imbalance:- This denotes an inequality in the decision making power in a male and female Relationship which in this case favours the males. In a typical male-female relationship in Nigeria, the male is seen as the final decision maker regarding issues like Finance, Health services, repairs, upkeep etc. This is a holdover from an older era in which the males were the sole breadwinner of the family while the females sole role was cooking and catering for the children. While this may have worked in the past, this does not hold true for the modern day where females have jobs and should have an equal say in the daily going one of the household This can affect Reproductive health in that the men decides when and if the woman goes for Antenatal check-up, what health facilities they use it can even extend to which of their children attend school and to what level in cases of families that are not well off.

• Perceived Need To Control Female Sexuality:- There is a need by the male usually elder members of the society to control the degree to which a female expresses herself sexually. Die to our traditional and societal beliefs a female that expresses herself sexually is called promiscuous and may be insubordinate to her spouse, To limit this expression they impose tight restrictions on the type of information and exposure she has access to, this can however prove detrimental to the sexual development of the child leading to either the child becoming withdrawn and going into the world without experience or seeking outside help both of which can prove seriously harmful to the individual.

• Unequal Access To Information and Services:- This factor is not as prevalent in the modern day and age due to widespread access to a variety of information through the use of the internet however this does not hold true for the past generation who had limited access to such die to lack of access to the necessary resources, facilities and Education required to utilize such information. Thankfully with the advent of the internet, there is an unlimited access to such information and services.

Solutions and Management to Factors That Affect Reproductive Health and Education

• Abolishing Harmful Social Norms:- While the elders strictly adhere to their beliefs and cultural practices, societal advancement demands a need to review said practices and weed out those practices and norms that may prove detrimental to the various members and groups of the community, this I a task not just for the youth but must also involve the elders , they must come together to review, modify and/or abolish harmful practices.

• Enlightenment:- The youths and society at large need to be enlightened and updated as to the rights of females, so as to abolish perceived stereotypes and roles to which the female gender has been assigned. This can be achieved via seminars, conferences etc. To reach every level of society from the classrooms to the marketplaces to the churches.

• Counselling:- Marriage counselling can aid couples in determining and balancing their roles in their relationship, this enables the woman to learn her roles and how to express herself and opinions while also making the man realize the value of his partners opinions in their decision making process, allowing them to take joint decisions that will be best for everyone.

• Establishment of NGO’s That Empower Women and Protect Their Rights:- This is vital in the education of women in their rights and to protect them from harmful traditional practices such as: Early marriages, a refusal to educate the, forced abortions etc. They can also provide them with access to information and services to which they are denied. These NGO’s can serve as a voice for oppressed women who have long been silenced and champion their cause in the eyes of society.

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