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.

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Barely two months into its new status as the opposition political party, having governed the country for sixteen years, the Peoples Democratic Party, has started struggling with the challenge of being an opposition, as it yesterday announced that the party will reduce allowances, staff strength by 50%. The party has also said it would reduce the salaries and allowances of its staff by 50%, even...

Kylie Jenner Had Lip Fillers & Khloe Supports It

Khloe Kardashian is throwing a whole heap of shade on anyone who has been dishing out criticism to her younger sister, Kylie Jenner recently. In an interview with Complex magazine, Khloe slams people’s criticism of Kylie well-publicized lip fillers. “Sometimes things bother her. When it comes to her lips, I knew it was one of her biggest insecurities. She used to always take pictures covering her...

Iyanya Bears It All On His Romance With Yvonne Nelson (Watch Video)

Iyanya was asked in an interview with MTV Base VJ Ehiz ‘Real Talk’ about Yvonne Nelson and their public breakup. Here is what he had to say! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PbKplHXlyY Source: MTV Base

Sharon Osbourne Speaks Out Against The Legalisation Of Marijuana

Sharon Osbourne may come across as a laid-back liberal mother, but there is at lease one issue on which she remains staunchly conservative. The former X Factor judge – whose husband Ozzy Osbourne and children Kelly and Jack have all battled drug addiction – has spoken out against plans to legalise marijuana, warning “it is going to end in tears”. Sharon, 62, told American CBS TV: “I have big resentments that this is happening. Anything...

Kris Jenner & Ex Husband, Now Caitlyn Jenner, Finally Meets In Person

The highly anticipated meeting between Caitlyn Jenner and Kris Jenner has finally happened. A source confirms that the two exes met at Caitlyn's Malibu house yesterday for their first face-to-face get together, undoubtedly an emotional moment for both. Kris, who openly struggled with the news of Caitlyn's transition on Keeping Up With the Kardashians, is the last of the family members to meet Caitlyn. And although she stayed mum about Jenner's debut in the...

Soldiers In Aba Kill Kidnapper, Arrest 2 Members Of His Gang, Including A Lady

Soldiers of the 144 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, stationed at Asa in Ukwa West local government area of Abia State have shot dead a kidnapper, arrested two members of his gang, including a lady, and rescued a female victim. Vanguard gathered that an Aba-based business woman, Mrs. Rita Anaekwe, was last Sunday night abducted at her residence on Anaekwe Street, Umuleta village, Obinkwu in Ukwa West local government area. Family sources said the hoodlums gained entry into...

419 Girls Scam ISIS on Social Media For Travel Money

If you’re low on funds for that big vacation, you could always ask to borrow money, make a Kickstarter campaign… or swindle a couple of Islamic State recruiters. It may not be the safest way to make money, but that’s what three girls from Chechnya, a Russian republic in southeastern Europe, did. The Chechen girls are under investigation for fraud after they allegedly scammed ISIS members into giving them money on the pretense that...

Director General Of The DSS, Lawal Daura Is An APC Member – PDP

Press statement from the PDP... The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at its meeting today thoroughly considered a number of very important issues pertaining to the state of affairs in our nation. The NWC brings to the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to some disturbing development in the polity which, if not nipped in the bud, might significantly affect our democracy and stability as a nation negatively, and that is the growing...

ISIS Plans To End The World By Provoking The US To War

According to a recruitment document understood to be written by ISIS militants,the terrorist group plans for an all-out war to bring about 'the end of the world'. Follow the jump for the full story and discovered document: The Urdu document seen by USA Today, passed to the American Media Institute by a Pakistani citizen connected to the Taliban, reveals the scale of the ambition of ISIS, including targeting India to provoke...

Oil Worth $13.7bn Stolen Under NNPC, Says NEITI

The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna-Ahmed, on Wednesday said between 2009 and 2012, about 160 million barrels of oil valued at $13.7bn was stolen under the watch of the national oil giant, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. She also said that subsidy payment from 2005 to 2012 indicated that $11.63bn had been paid to the NNPC but that “there is no evidence of the money being remitted to the federation...

Oil worth $13.7bn stolen under NNPC, says NEITI

The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Hajiya Zainab Shamsuna-Ahmed, on Wednesday said between 2009 and 2012, about 160 million barrels of oil valued at $13.7bn was stolen under the watch of the national oil giant, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. She also said that subsidy payment from 2005 to 2012 indicated...

Port Harcourt And Warri Refineries Commence Preliminary Operations

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has announced that the Port Harcourt and Warri refineries have been successfully re-streamed after a nine-month rehabilitation exercise conducted by its in-house engineers and technicians. The corporation, in a statement, noted that both plants commenced preliminary production of petroleum products after successful test-runs, adding that while PHRC was ramping up its operation to about 60 per cent of its 210,000 barrels per day capacity, WRPC production was projected to hit 80 per cent...

FG Overrules JAMB On New Admission Policy

The Federal Government has overruled the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board on its new admission policy that recently sparked off protests in parts of the country. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. MacJohn Nwaobiala, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Tuesday, after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari of his ministry’s activities and challenges at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. JAMB had, at its 2015 Combined Policy Meeting, adopted a policy whereby candidates of universities with...

Missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 Plane Wreckage Found Off The Coast Of Africa?

Almost a year since the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flight vanished mid-air during flight to China, wreckage found of the coast of Africa Officials revealed might be that of the missing plane. The debris, discovered near to the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, is that of a Boeing 777, investigators confirmed. The Malaysia Airlines jet - also a Boeing 777 - is thought to have come down in the same ocean on March 8 last year. Officials at...

Police Arrest Fed Poly Oko Graduate For Beheading Friend in A’Ibom

The Akwa Ibom State Police Command on Wednesday arrested a 32-year-old graduate of the Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, Mr. Stephen Onona, in connection with the death of his close friend and employee, Mr. Daniel Solomon. Onona is from Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State while Solomon was from Uruan LGA of Akwa Ibom State. Onona was said to be an employee of Africana First Publisher, Uyo, where he worked for four years. The Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom...

Buhari commends Father Mbaka’s courage and patriotism in run-up to 2015 elections

President Muhammadu Buhari has commended fiery Catholic priest, Revd Father Ejike Mbaka, for his patriotism in the run-up to the 2015 general elections, saying his courage has earned him a mark in the sands of time. In a statement Thursday to congratulate the leader of the Adoration Ministries Enugu, Nigeria, on the occasion of his 20th priestly ordination, the President said history would favour Mr. Mbaka for courageously speaking truth to power, even at great risks. In the statement signed by...

Nigeria has taken ICJ’s ruling on Bakassi in good faith -Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Yaunde, Republic of Cameroon said to Nigerians to accept the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the oil-rich Bakassi penisular to Cameroon in good faith. “Since Nigeria allowed the case to go to court and we lost, we have to abide by it” he said

Massive shake up in Nigerian Army , as Buratai appoints new GOC

There is massive shake up in the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army as the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Tukur Buratai appointed new General Officers Commanding the Divisions of the Nigerian Army as well as new Principal Staff Officers to run the affairs of Army headquarters. Also appointed were...

Air force intercepts Boko Haram’s fuel supply

The fuel supply route of the Boko Haram militants has been intercepted, and their new fuel supply seized by the fighter pilots of the Nigerian Air Force. The Director, Air Force Information, Air Commodore Dele Alonge, said in a statement on Wednesday, July 29,  that the Air Force seized 4,000 drums and jerry cans of...

FG goes after ‘super rich’ civil servants over corruption

Federal Government’s anti-corruption operatives have been sent after ‘super rich’ public officers who have multiple properties and other assets suspected to have been the rewards of graft. The searchlight of the anti-corruption agents is on civil servants that possess many properties in the Federal Capital Territory.

Photo Of The Day – D’banj

D'banj looks smart in his suit, designed by Okunorenhe.  He Wore a black suit, paired with neck chain, a wrist watch and shoes to blend the look. He wrote on his Instagram #SALUTE = Dress code + Work mode - Boss Mood #theKingIsHere #TheKingIsHere ...feels good to be Bag in Lasgidi. Week 3 get ready..   Lagos are you ready for the...

El-Rufai Nominates 13 Commissioners

The governor of Kaduna State, mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has nominated 13 persons as members of the state executive council. In a letter to Aminu Shagali, Speaker of the Kaduna State...

#AkwaIbom: Okori VS Akpabio: No election took place, Okori’s witnesses tells tribunal

...insist Akpabio not PDP candidate ...ex Governor's camp in disarray, Paul Usoro, Nwoko missing in court The trial in the legal battle between Chief Inibehe Okori of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Chief Godswill Akpabio of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) commenced on Wednesday at the Customary Court, Dutsen Alhaji, Abuja. Three witnesses testified on Wednesday against the former Governor. At the...

Governor El-Rufai nominates 13 Commissioners

Malam Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, has nominated 13 persons as members of the state executive council. In a letter to Hon. Aminu Shagali, Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, El-Rufai requested the legislators to consider and approve his nominees. The governor also attached the indicative portfolios of the nominees in the interest of a transparent screening process. The nominees are: NamePortfolio 1 Professor...

Beyonce Finally Pregnant After Months Of IVF Treatments

Beyoncé, 33, and her hubby Jay Z‘s, 45, are more than ready to expand their family it seems. A new report claims that the famous duo turned to IVF to get pregnant for a second time. It’s been three years since they welcomed their daughter Blue Ivy, 3, so the timing couldn’t be better. Speculation that Beyoncé is pregnant is back with full force! A new report claims that the singer is with child thanks to multiple rounds of IVF treatments. “Even though...

‘They Call Him Timaya; “Getting Down” Higher’ By Charles Novia

Charles Novie who is known for his controversial articles is back.  Read below; Dancehall cum Afropop star act, Timaya, has been trending for a few days for the wrong reasons, perhaps. A lady in Atlanta, America took to social media to accuse him of rape. Initially when I read the news on a blog, I thought it was one of some crazy publicity stunts some Nigerian artistes pull up and didn’t give it a...

Only Palace Chiefs Can Announce Monarch’s Death, IDB Debunks Oba’s Death Reports

The President of Ife Development Board (IDB), Prof. Muib Opeloye, on Wednesday debunked reports of the death of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade. Mr. Opeloye, who addressed a crowd that had besieged the Ooni’s palace to confirm the veracity of the reports, said: “Although Baba is advanced in age, he is still hale and hearty in London. “lf anything of such happened, there is no need spreading the news and moreover, if it...

Yar’Adua Cancelled Sale Of Refineries, Refunded Dangote’s $750M – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained that the sale of two of the nation’s oil oil refineries had been concluded before he exited office in 2007, saying his successor, the late Umaru Yar’Adua, reversed the sale due to “pressure”. Obasanjo said this in his serialised interview with ‘Book Club’, a programme on Channels Television, monitored in Lagos on Wednesday. The ex-President said business mogul, Aliko Dangote, leading a consortium of investors, had paid $750m for...

Bobbi Kristina’s Boyfriend, Nick Gordon, To Be Charged With Manslaughter

Nick Gordon, who was the boyfriend of the late Bobbi Kristina, is now in serious trouble as prosecutors want to charge him with involuntary manslaughter, and are trying to use one of Nick's friends to turn him in law enforcement sources told TMZ. TMZ's sources say authorities believe Nick's alleged crime is arranging to get drugs for Bobbi Kristina the day she almost drowned in her bathtub. Nick already confessed to the fact that both he and Bobbi...

Tyler Perry Speechless After Bobbi Kristina Brown’s Death

The news of Bobbi Kristina Brown’s tragic death is absolutely devastating, and those close to the daughter of Whitney Houston are absolutely reeling with sadness. That includes Tyler Perry, who was an extremely close friend of Whitney and Bobbi for many years, and the actor released an tear-inducing...

UNIBEN Bans Students From Wearing Earpieces, Headsets Following Death Of Student

Following the death of the UNIBEN student, Rita, the school has banned students from wearing headsets and earpieces outside of their rooms. Information coming out of the school says this is a security measure to ensure that students are alert at all times. This was posted yesterday at Tinubu Hall in the school.

#BelieveItOrNot !! Hotel Where Perverts Pay to Have Sex With Animals Busted By Police

Three men have been jailed after being convicted of running an animal brothel in Swansea, Wales. The hotel specializes in getting animals and grooming them to become good in having sex with humans. Their animal catalog includes domesticated female white lions, mountain nanny goats, Irish pigs, Himalayan gentle donkeys and other species of animals. Some animals that are not dangerous like female sheep's and some breeds of dogs are also trained to give oral sex and receive full...

Kim And Khloe Come For Caitlyn Jenner?

Kim Kardashian has a tense conversation with Caitlyn Jenner in an extended preview of I Am Cait, accusing her of “bashing” her family while speaking publicly about her transition to living as a woman. Viewers will be able learn a lot more about how Kim and the Kardashian-Jenner clan are coping with Caitlyn’s new reality as the docu-series continues. “Khloe is upset,” Caitlyn admits in the episode. “She didn’t like the Vanity Fair article.”

Sight And Scenes From DA Music Room’s Denim Party As Premiere Show Records Huge Success In Abuja #AboutLastWeekend

The city of Abuja were not sure what to expect from a Christian party especially since its being hosted at one of Abuja most conspicuous club and lounge. Regardless of the mixed reaction the attendees were perplexed with the variety of entertainment and fun experience they got.     Da Music Room had earlier invited young, trendy, music and party people...

U.S. Indicts Borno Govt. Over Use Of Child Soldiers

Despite efforts by Nigeria’s central government to combat human trafficking and servitude, the Borno State government in the country’s north east, plagued by Boko Haram insurgency, actively supported the recruitment of child soldiers in the last one year, the United States government has said in its latest report on human trafficking. The report, released Monday, praised the Nigerian government for its efforts at fighting trafficking and ranked Nigeria in its Tier two category – the same...

President Buhari Arrives Cameroon For Talks On Boko Haram

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in neighbouring Cameroon on Wednesday for talks on how to combat the escalating regional threat from Boko Haram Islamists. Security was tight for the 24-hour visit, after a surge of Boko Haram violence in Cameroon including an unprecedented series of five suicide bombings in the far north. Presidential guard soldiers were posted on rooftops of houses and along the route from the airport to the presidential palace in Yaounde, while vehicles armed...

Ijaw youths task FG on economic plan for Niger Delta

The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide have tasked President Muhammadu Buhari on economic plan for the people of the Niger Delta. The youths said they are not against the president’s moves to curb oil-related theft in the region, but advised president Buhari to do the needful before deploying soldiers in the region.

Saraki Shocks Nigerians, Names Four Senate Committees

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki has shocked Nigerians, by naming four Committees at Wednesday plenary. The committees include: 1. Selection Committee to be headed by the Senate President. 2. Rules and Business Committee with Senator Babatunde Omoworare representing Oshodi East Senatorial District as Chairman 3. Ethics and Privileges Committee with Senator Samuel Anyanwu representing Imo East Senatorial District as Chairman 4. Ad-Committee on Publicity is to be headed by Senator Dino Melaye from Kogi West Senatorial District. Read More: 

Obama warns world leaders to change attitude towards Africa

U.S. President Barack Obama in his visit to Ethiopia on Tuesday urged world leaders to change their attitude toward Africa. In a historic speech at the AU, Obama spoke strongly against corruption, bad leadership and economic exploitation of Africa by foreign powers, without naming any countries. He, however, sent a strong message to African leaders against extending term limits to cling to power indefinitely. He said “Africa’s progress is at risk when leaders refuse to step aside when their terms end. “No person...

Drake Comes For Meek Mill On Diss Track

Round 2. Just four days after dropping his diss track “Charged Up,” Drake takes aim at Meek Mill once more on his “Back to Back” freestyle. On the three-minute track, the 6 God addresses the ghostwriting controversy head on, rapping, “This for ya’ll that think that I don’t write enough / They just mad ’cause I got the Midas touch.” Drizzy goes on to bash Meek, who is currently opening for Nicki Minaj on her “Pinkprint Tour.” “You love...

New Terrorist Group In Kaduna, Police Arraigns 120 Suspected Members

Kaduna State Police Command yesterday arraigned 120 suspected members of a new terrorists group known as Sara- Suka before a Kaduna court. The suspects who were taken to court in large number, were later assigned to various magistrate courts by the Chief Magistrate court One, Awaulu Musa Aliyu, for the continuation of the case. However the suspects were taken back to police custody. It would be recalled that, Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, had...

Incredible! Man Cuts Off Wife’s Hand Over Adultery Allegations

Man, identified as Jacob Nwachukwu from Abala in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State, has cut off his wife’s left hand over allegation of infidelity. The man’s wife, Mrs Nwadiokeonu Nwachukwu, is now at a hospital in Aba, while her severed hand had been taken to her husband’s village at Abala for burial. The incident happened, Monday, at Ogbor Hill Area of Aba, where the woman had lived for years, while the husband lived at...

Nicki Gets Intimate With Meek Mill In Sexy Video

All eyes are on Meek Mill and Drake’s beef. But the Dreamchasers rapper turns the spotlight on his relationship with Nicki Minaj in the video for “All Eyes On You,” the first single off his chart-topping album Dreams Worth More Than Money. In the Benny Boom-directed clip, Meek and his boo show why they’re hip-hop’s hottest new couple, putting their love on display for the world to see. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut9ThAbfde0 Credit: MeekMillTV