The Influence of Religious Beliefs on Sexual and Reproductive Health By @Lanre_Olagunju

Published:5 Jan, 2014

Cultural and religious beliefs play a key role in the formation of perceptions and attitudes. When looking at issues or challenges that affect people we, as advocates, can sometimes forget to take into account cultural beliefs that play chief roles in behaviour. This weakens our understanding of these issues and as a result the solutions we proffer can suffer.

With the availability of appropriate reproductive health knowledge and services, reproductive health amongst women and young people will enjoy tremendous improvements. With more accurate knowledge many more people can embrace the usefulness and importance of contraceptives and family planning in protecting themselves sexually.

One of the major challenges of improving family planning cover in Africa is the existence of many conflicting cultural and religious beliefs. These are a hindrance to maximizing effective family planning services for women and families across the continent.

I discussed family planning with some friends lately who all happen to adhere to strong Christian values, one of which is ‘no-sex before marriage’. The conversation we had together highlighted some of the important socio-cultural issues that hinder the success of family planning initiatives in Africa.

Although abstinence can be beneficial and effective in some cases, many religious people prefer to ignore the obvious realities of the health and welfare benefits of using effective family planning. These must not be neglected.

This particular conversation with my friends started when I returned from an event where we discussed the sexual and reproductive health of young people. I explained the topics talked about at the event, particularly how young people were advised to live responsibly and ensure they only make smart sexual choices that won’t damage their health. I went further and explained that young people were also advised to always use a condom to protect themselves from STDs and unwanted pregnancies; unwanted pregnancies increase the risks of unsafe abortions. At the close of the event we were all given condoms.

That didn’t go down well with some of my overzealous Christian friends, who feel that only abstinence should be preached to young people. They did not see the benefits of also encouraging the safe and proper use of condoms.

The overly religious and sentimental may risk perpetuating dangerous falsities that are damaging to the health and well being of young people.

Maybe I should make it clear that I deeply agree with encouraging young people to abstain from sexual activities until marriage, but that opinion and message that it sometimes portrays can be very unsafe if our explanation and rational ends there. We cannot assume that every young person who has been encouraged to practice abstinence will adhere to that advice. Despite this, many religious leaders and parents would seem to prefer to endanger the lives of young people by not balancing the information and education they provide, particularly by not teaching young people about the benefits that family planning can bring.

The reality is that people often in the best position to guide a child towards healthy sexuality frequently are not forthcoming in that regard. Many lazily hope and rely on the religious laws, beliefs and “morals” to guide their children, rather than facts and scientific information.

Parents must understand their role in helping young people (especially adolescents) to practice responsible sexual behaviours. Specifically how they can help them to make wise choices. Reports show that teenagers who live in stable homes (those where parents interact well with their children and provide them with accurate information about their sexual health) are more likely to refrain from sex than those in families where such conversations do not exist.

Additionally, children who are exposed to such interactions with their parents and guardians tend to postpone intercourse until the time when they can manage the consequences better. Where such parent-children interaction abounds, kids understand from the start that it is a lot better, both physically and emotionally, to keep to only a few partners and to constantly use contraceptives until they are ready to have a child.

In the fight to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and to reduce the rate of unsafe abortions, I don’t believe that we can rely on behavioural change as a method to protect young people. Although many religious and cultural bodies would have us believe that we can.

There is great benefit to working towards a behavioural shift, we must note however that it doesn’t happen automatically. Occasionally individuals may fall back into old habits. When looking at sexual health in particular, one occurrence of unprotected intercourse can lead to contacting an STD or falling pregnant. Unwanted pregnancies are more likely to lead to unsafe abortions and in the worst-case scenario severe complications or the ultimately death of the mother.

I understand that being faithful to one’s partner and abstaining from sexual activity for the unmarried is an effective solution to combat contracting an STD or falling pregnant but we must embrace all possibilities and methods by which to safeguard young people. We must advise them on the correct use of condoms and contraceptives so they can protect themselves.

Read More: CARMMA WEBSITE 

  • theNigerian

    I’m happy for everyone who believes in abstinence, I’m in my 20’s now and I don’t. I didn’t when I was a teenager and so did a lot of people in my class (school, church, community). In fact, in my SS3, everyone I knew was having sex, so if you decide not to teach about condoms, safe sex, STD’s and pregnancy, imagine the havoc you would be causing. Thank God for two lovely teachers in my school who decided to do an Anti-HIV campaign. Imagine what would have happened to everyone I knew (and me) back then if we didn’t know.
    Here’s another thing to consider, teenagers these days will find out about these things whether you tell them or not. They may end up getting distorted information from their peers or crazy websites but they will find the information, so do yourself a favour, talk to your child about sex, safety and consequences today. They will still do what they want to do, but at least they will KNOW the consequences of their actions.

  • http://www.simple2let.co.uk/uniform/style/ mulberry bags outlet site genuine

    The pursuit ended between the Donegal and New Stanton interchanges in Westmoreland County when DeLuca said he struck the rear corner of the SUV with his cruiser,mulberry bags, a tactic known as a PIT maneuver. Other charges against Foriska are aggravated assault, reckless endangerment,i tip hair extensions, drug violations, tampering with evidence, escape, fleeing police and reckless driving. In addition to the conspiracy count,mulberry handbags outlet stores, Riccelli is charged with aggravated

  • http://uggbootssale ugg boots sale

    The Influence of Religious Beliefs on Sexual and Reproductive Health By @Lanre_Olagunju | Omojuwa
    ugg boots sale http://bruehlschule.de/uploads/

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Fashola Begs Nigerians To Accept Hike In Electricity Tariff, Faults Jonathan’s Privatization Of Power Sector

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, has noted that the increase in electricity tariffs is the first major policy the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is coming up with, describing same as “a painful pill,” which consumers have to “swallow.”Fashola disclosed this Monday during the second monthly meeting with stakeholders in the power sector in Lagos, where he also inspected some projects at the Alagbon Transmission and Distribution Complex. Fashola’s comments...

Gunmen Blow Up Agip Gas Pipeline Over Suspect’s Arrest

A group of armed men believed to be cultists have blown up a gas facility in Akala Olu village, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State for the arrest and continued detention of a suspect, Mr. Emmanuel Odum. The attack on the gas facility, according to a statement signed by the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 2 Brigade in Port Harcourt, Captain Eli Lazarus, disrupted production activities of the Nigeria Agip...

Nigerian Army To Court-Martial Officers, Soldiers Over Recent Borno Attacks

The Nigerian Army has set up a court-martial to try cases of misconduct, indiscipline, among other misconducts that led to recent deadly attacks on Dalori and other Borno communities. A statement by the spokesperson of the Nigerian Army, Sani Usman, said the Nigerian Army had already begun investigations into the matter, noting that those found wanting “will be dealt with”. “The recent unfortunate attacks by Boko Haram terrorists on communities close to Maiduguri, despite our...

Amnesty Programme To Exit 3,232 Beneficiaries

The Presidential Amnesty Programme has announced plans to exit 3,232 beneficiaries from the programme. Those billed to leave the programme are those who have been trained as entrepreneurs and have received business and setup/ starter packs. Also affected are all beneficiaries of the Oil and Gas International Foundation (OGIF) programme and the 400 whom the office had secured employment for. The spokesman of the amnesty programme, Owei Lakemfa, said in a statement that by exiting...

Oyo/Osun Customs Command Generates N14.59bn

The Oyo/Osun Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) generated N14.59 billion in 2015, as it prepared to build on its revenue generation and anti-smuggling activities.   The Customs Area Controller, Comptroller Tope Ogunkua, made the disclosure on Monday in Ibadan when the Customs Zonal Coordinator, Zone 'A', Mr Eporwei Edike, visited the command’s headquarters in Ibadan.   Ogunkua, who assumed duty on Jan.11, 2016, said that what was generated in 2015 fell short of the revenue target of N21.83 billion set...

Video: Base One – Werey Re (Remix) ft. Phyno & Olamide

Headies 2015 Rookie Of The Year’ nominee Base One follows up his single release with the visuals for Werey Re (Remix), which features heavyweights Phyno & Olamide. Directed by Frizzle.   https://youtu.be/HbVfP93myS4

N500bn Social Welfare: 1million Poor Nigerians To Get N5,000 Directly – Presidency

The Senior Special Assistant on Media in the Office of the Vice President, Adeolu Akande, on Sunday revealed that one million extremely poor Nigerians would be direct beneficiaries of the N5,000 monthly cash transfer. A statement by Akande disclosed that a total of N60 billion would be directly transferred to one million extremely poor Nigerians in accordance to President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision of building human capital. The payment which is to commence once the budget is approved by the...

Karrueche Tran’s New Makeup Line Angers Gays and Transgenders

Karrueche Tran recently launched her new makeup line in collaboration with ColourPop cosmetics. The new makeup line, called KaePop, features liquid makeup in shades and pigments targeted toward Asian, Hispanic and light skinned women. While Karrueche’s KaePop makeup line totally ignores 100% black women, it’s the transgenders who are coming for her neck on Instagram.com. Karrueche angered her transgender followers by including handwritten “notes of love” with every KaePop purchase. The gays and transgender community are upset that Karrueche’s...

Abuja Rail To Commence Operation December 2017 – FCT Minister

The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello has said that the Abuja rail would begin operation in Dec. 2017.   Bello stated this while receiving the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the NNPC Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachichwu, who paid him a working visit on Monday in Abuja.   He said the commencement of the rail operation would complement the present mode of public transportation and reduce traffic gridlock often experienced at peak periods in the Federal Capital Territory.   "The...

Court Issues Ultimatum For Tompolo’s Arrest

Justice Ibrahim Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday rejected the plea to set aside the bench warrant issued on January 14 against a former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.   The judge, in a bench ruling, said the warrant of arrest issued against Tompolo still stood and ordered all the law enforcement agencies in the country to ensure that Tompolo was produced before him on February 19.   Tompolo is wanted by the court over...

Video: Beyoncé, Coldplay, & Bruno Mars’ Performance At The Super Bowl 2016

Bruno Mars hits the stage with his hooligans to sing his smash hit song “Uptown Funk” during the 2016 Super Bowl Halftime Show live from Levi’s Stadium on Sunday (February 7) in Santa Clara, Calif. Coldplay performed at the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show on Sunday with Beyonce and Bruno Mars which was a very emotional performance with clips of former legends who have graced the super bowl half time show. Check out the video below! https://youtu.be/UoGTDEPfAyg

Crude Oil Slips As Saudi, Venezuela Meeting Yields Little

Crude oil prices eased in thin trade on Monday as a meeting between OPEC producers, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela showed little indication that steps would be taken to boost prices.   Global benchmark Brent futures LCOc1 were down 8 cents at $34.98 while U.S. crude futures CLc1 fell by 23 cents to $30.66. Both contracts firmed slightly earlier in the session on Monday in see-saw trade on low volumes as many Asian markets were on holiday for the Lunar New Year.   Saudi Arabia's...

We Put 2016 Budget Proposal On Website To Attract Comments, Criticism – Presidency

The Senior Special Assistant (Media) to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu, has said that the Federal Government will continue to welcome constructive criticism of its policies, budget and expenditure.   Shehu said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday that such criticism would assist the government in fulfilling its promises to Nigerians, adding that "it is the only way the change promised the country will have a meaning’’.   He said that it was on account of this and in line with...

Court Refuses To Stop Dasuki’s Trial, Orders Continuation

Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the Federal capital Territory (FCT) high court, Abuja, has struck out the application of Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), to stop his trial. Dasuki had sought three prayers from the court, ultimately to stop his trial. He predicated his prayers on seven grounds implicit in the violation of his rights to bail by the federal government. However, Justice Baba-Yusuf held that the central issue to...

Zayyad I. Muhammad: How To Get Rich From Buhari’s Government

Some people oppose the Buhari government because they think people cannot get rich from his government. Some people love Buhari so much because they think that people cannot make a penny from the government.  They are all wrong, at the same time, they are all right depending on the prisms they are seeing things. Some Nigerians question whether the practice of self enrichment from government coffers that flourished in...

Court Fixes Feb 18 For TB Joshua, Engineers’ Arraignment

A Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Monday fixed February 18, 2016 for the arraignment of the Registered Trustees of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, founded by Prophet T.B. Joshua.   The defendants were charged before Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo on one count of building without the approval of the Lagos State Government.   The said building collapsed on September 12, 2014 leading to the death of 116 persons.   Also to be arraigned on 110 counts of involuntary manslaughter are the two engineers...

Kanu Nwankwo, Pele, Ronaldo Da Lima Named As World Football Legends

Kanu Nwankwo is officially a football legend. The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) have named Nigeria’s Nwankwo Kanu in the list of top 48 legends of football worldwide. The body released the first phase of the list which also includes Brazilian greats Pele and Ronaldo da Lima. Other notable Africans who made the list are former World player of the year George Oppong Weah, Roger Milla, Rabah Medjer, Muhammed Aboutrika, Mohmud El-Khatub and...

FG To Raise N5bn Via Eurobond, Others To Plug Budget Deficit

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has said that the Federal Government would raise about $4.5 billion from multiple external sources, including the Eurobond market, to plug its budget deficit.   The Minister speaking over the weekend at the KPMG CFO Forum held at Eko Hotel in Lagos said the aim was to overcome the country’s worst economic crisis in years through a record budget.   Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer is still reeling from the fall in crude...

NLC Laments ‘Artificial’ Fuel Scarcity In Katsina

Katsina State chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, has expressed concern over activities of petroleum marketers who create artificial scarcity of petrol in the state.   The state’s NLC said some of the petroleum marketers were in the habit of selling the product above the officially approved price. It therefore, called on the government to strengthen the state’s Petroleum Task Force Committee to deal with such unscrupulous petroleum marketers.   The state’s NLC chairman, Comrade Tanimu Saulawa, made the call over the weekend...

Electricity Tariff Hike: Workers Begin Nationwide Protest

Workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have started a nationwide protest against the recent increase in electricity tariffs in the country. The NLC had called for the protest after repeatedly calling on the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission to suspend the recent increase in tariffs.   The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who described the tariff hike as outrageous, said it was the fifth in a row since 2012 and unacceptable.   In a statement calling for the...

Etisalat Sues MTN Over Visafone Acquisition

Telecommunication company, Etisalat Nigeria has sued MTN Nigeria and Visafone Ltd, challenging MTN’s use of the 800megahertz (MHZ) spectrum following the acquisition of Visafone. MTN closed the deal acquiring Visafone in January this year. A statement released by Etisalat says the suit was filed in order to prevent the use of the spectrum by MTN at this time, as it will entrench the dominance of MTN in the retail data services market. The statement released by Etisalat's...