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Pandemic offers parents time to talk about sexual health

This is the time to talk to our children about their sexuality

In Summary

• This is the time to talk to our children about their sexuality and their sexual health, especially those who are at the gateway to puberty and adolescence.

• It is definitely the time to begin comprehensive sexuality education at home; and eventually, hopefully, continue the same at school.

Sex education.
AGE-APPROPRIATE: Sex education.
Image: COURTESY

The main reason people are being told to stay at home during this coronavirus pandemic is to reduce the rate of new infections and, consequently, avoid overwhelming the healthcare system.

With each new confirmed Covid-19 case in Kenya, including the hundreds of suspected cases, the already struggling healthcare system is in danger of being overrun. This also means less attention is being given to other medical conditions such as cancer and HIV-related complications.

It has, therefore, never been more necessary for Kenyans to be more equipped with the right information about their health. This is especially the case with women reproductive health, an area often marked by rampant ignorance, stigma and lack of access to key medical attention.

Many Kenyans are now dedicating almost all the attention to  coronavirus, and rightly so. We have never been more conversant with the symptoms of an infection than we are about this one.

But if the same amount of attention and dedication was given to educating ourselves about our sexual health, we would emerge on the other side of this pandemic, not just safe from one viral infection, but also better at managing and coping  with many reproductive health issues that often prove difficult to handle.

For instance, with many parents now forced to spend many hours at home with their children — who would otherwise be at school — it offers a good opportunity to have that conversation that you’ve been postponing for months now.

This is the time to talk to our children about their sexuality and their sexual health, especially those who are at the gateway to puberty and adolescence. It is definitely the time to begin comprehensive sexuality education at home; and eventually, hopefully, continue the same at school.

If this pandemic has proven anything, it is that parents are still at the frontline in confronting and addressing majority of the reproductive health issues their children will inevitably have to deal with.

The long hours spent at home will also be a good opportunity for men and women to brush up on how to best manage their reproductive health, family planning options and how much finances to dedicate to healthcare in general.

There is nothing like a global healthcare emergency to remind us all of how little attention we often pay to our healthcare. You may not be able to go to hospital for a general health checkup at this time, but you have all the time in the world to acquaint yourself with your sexuality and the information necessary to take care of it.

Let us not squander this rare opportunity.

 Ngare is head of Communications at the Network for Adolescent and Youth of Africa