Repeatedly adolescents in Africa have been experiencing early pregnancy by more than 50%, early parenthood by 30% and new HIV infections by more than 80%. Parent – Adolescent communication as an effective strategy on sexual and reproductive health has not been taken up in most of African countries including Ethiopia. The aim of the study was to assess the challenges of Parent – Adolescent communication on sexual and reproductive health practices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
A qualitative cross-sectional study exploring Parent – Adolescent communication practices was conducted in two high schools Yeka sub-city, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Students aged 15–19 years were recruited for in-depth interviews and focused group discussions (FGD) as well as respective parents for in-depth interviews and parents’ FGD.
Twenty students were available for in-depth interviews and all of them for FDG. Sixteen parents were available for in-depth interviews and nine of them for parent’s FGD. Parent – Adolescent communication on sexual and reproductive was reported to be important by both adolescents and parents. The parental initiation is rare. The initial sexual activity by the adolescents triggers initiation by parents. The communications are gender dependent, not planned and not continuous and inhibited by intergenerational cultural taboo. A gap exists in parental knowledge on such communications. Parents deny responsibilities to communicate with adolescent as they fear it will perpetuate early sex practices, adolescents are too young it’s an embarrassment, often being busy for household income retards their wills to communicate.
Parent-Adolescent communications on sexual and reproductive health is not a common practice in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia due to taboo, cultural structures, gender domains and parental knowledge. These findings alarm the risk of adolescent exposure towards unwanted pregnancies, transmissions of HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Addis Ababa.
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