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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 134-144

Assessing current and preferred sources of information on adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health in Southeast Nigeria: A mixed-methods study

1 Department of Community Medicine, Alex-Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu-Campus, Enugu, Nigeria
3 Health Policy Research Group, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu-Campus, Enugu, Nigeria
4 Department of Health Administration and Management, Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology, University of Nigeria Enugu-Campus, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Ifunanya C Agu
Health Policy Research Group, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu-Campus, Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijmh.IJMH_55_22

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Background: Although there are numerous information on sexual and reproductive health (SRH), these vary in content and quality. Objectives: This study examined the sources of SRH information, its value, and their significance for adolescent health programming. Materials and Methods: This was a mixed methods, community-based study conducted in six local government areas. Quantitative data were collected from 1057 unmarried adolescents aged 13–18 years. The qualitative data were collected through in-depth interviews (IDIs), and focus group discussions (FGDs). Descriptive and inferential analyses were performed for quantitative data using Stata software, while thematic framework approach was used to analyze qualitative data. Results: Adolescents reported school teachers (60.5%) and mothers (39.8%) as their major sources of information on signs of puberty. While, teachers (36.3%) and friends/peers (29.8%) were reported as their major source of information on relationship with opposite sex. Bivariate analysis shows that gender had statistically significant associations with parents/guardians (P < 0.001), other family members (P < 0.001), and friends (P = 0.01) as adolescents’ sources of information about relationship with opposite sex. Age category was found to be statistically significant associated with other family members (P < 0.001), teachers (P < 0.01), and friends (P < 0.001) as adolescents’ sources of information about puberty. Other common sources of SRH information elicited through adolescents’ interviews were internet, social media and mass media. Most adolescents valued information from teachers and parents, but preferred receiving SRH information from their friends/peers, social media and mass media because these sources are easy to access with a guarantee of some level of confidentiality. In the opinion of parents and other stakeholders, sources of appropriate SRH information for adolescents were health workers, teachers, parents and adult family members; whereas peers/friends and social media were considered as inappropriate sources of SRH information for adolescents. Conclusion: Efforts at addressing adolescents’ needs for SRH information should be targeted at their valued and preferred sources, whilst maintaining a delicate balance with the expectations of parents and other adults.

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