A child and adolescent mental health analyst, Dr Bunmi Oluwagbami, has advised parents to educate their adolescents about sexual reproductive health to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
Oluwagbami, also a consultant psychiatrist at the Oshodi Annex of the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Yaba, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos.
She advised adolescents to make themselves available for such information on sexual health to achieve their full potential in life.
According to her, reproductive health problems such as HIV, unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion among adolescents are closely linked to insufficient knowledge about sexuality.
“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 more comfortable to talk on such issues,’’ she said.
Oluwagbami said there was a 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 family planning.
“If we do a survey, out of 100, a good proportion of young people are sexually active.
“We found out that 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,’’ she said.
Oluwagbami said inadequate health facilities 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.
She, however, emphasised the need to teach adolescents about their rights to be able to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Oluwagbami said: “People have the fundamental human rights to decide if, when and how many children they want to have, and it is a right everyone should access.
“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 should be fulfilled and able to achieve their maximum potential if they have access to the right information.”