Sexual reproductive health capabilities: girls’ voices heard: A study on the influence of economic, social and cultural factors on girl’s experiences of sexual reproductive health and education in Magu, Tanzania.

by L.C. Spruijt

Institution: Universiteit Utrecht
Year: 2014
Keywords: Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH), adolescent girls, education, economic, social and cultural influences
Record ID: 1260184
Full text PDF: http://dspace.library.uu.nl:8080/handle/1874/301414


Worldwide, sexual reproductive health issues are topic of interest in the field of international development. Sexual reproductive health is an important part of general health and a central aspect of overall human development. Especially during adolescence and adulthood sexual reproductive health issues prevail and are of special importance for women particularly during their reproductive years. Failure to properly cope with sexual reproductive health problems at any stage in life might cause health and developmental problems later in life. The highest attainable level of sexual reproductive health is not only a human right, but also a prerequisite for social and economic development as humans are the driving forces of development. Sexual reproductive health is not solely based on absence of diseases or infirmity, but also deals with reproductive processes at all stages of life and must be understood in the context of relationships too. Involvement and empowerment of young women in the development and implementation of programs and services is needed. Thus far focus has been on the quantity rather than quality i.e. availability of goods rather than capability and opportunity to make well informed decisions. Little account of the social and cultural realities that young women encounter regarding their reproductive lives and decision making is taken. Different actors from public and private sector and civil society examine on local, district, national and international level whether any interventions in this area are needed to improve the situation for girls and women worldwide. This qualitative study is focused on the sexual reproductive health status and education of adolescent girls in Tanzania and how this is influenced by economic, social and cultural factors. Through questionnaires and in-depth interviews with adolescent girls (whether enrolled in school or dropped out), parents, teachers and health care professionals the situation for adolescent girls in Magu, Tanzania is well identified. The results of this study show that there’s much room for improvement. Girls are not capable of managing their sexual reproductive health properly and with dignity. Girls do not have sufficient knowledge on the topic, information is scarcely provided, and issues related to the topic are often not discussed but kept silent. Beliefs and practices are often in line with socio-cultural and religious norms and values that are often based on conventional wisdom and old customs as taught by parents, teachers, religious leaders etc. The topic doesn’t receive III much attention within the school curriculum and education is often based on morality and risk reduction. Economic factors like accessibility and affordability of goods and services unable girls to maintain their sexual reproductive health and hygiene and lack of facilities at schools often influence the school performance and attendance of girls.