By: Sri Murtiningsih (Secretary of the Pekerti Program)
Adolescents are those who are at the transition between childhood and adulthood. For adolescents, the age limit is 12 to 24 years (WHO). During the transition period, adolescents are very vulnerable to reproductive health problems such as unwanted pregnancy, abortion, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. This vulnerability is due to the lack of access to comprehensive information about reproductive health.
Reproductive health education is important for adolescents to avoid getting caught up in myths related to reproduction that develop in society. For example, myths include: sexual intercourse for the first time will get a woman pregnant, or women can get pregnant if swimming with men in the same place, and so on. If they do not get comprehensive information related to reproductive health, adolescents will believe these misleading myths.
Teenagers have difficulty accessing health and counseling services. Apart from the fact that service time at the puskesmas is at the same time as school hours, there are some teenagers who receive negative stigma that is often attached to adolescents, so they are reluctant to access the service. It is assumed that adolescents who consult with reproductive health facilities have bad associations. This assumption makes teens feel uncomfortable and afraid to access services.
According to the author’s experience, while still in school, getting reproductive health education is limited to biology. Adolescents need clearer and deeper information about reproductive health. There are still many people who think that reproductive education is too taboo to be discussed. In the end, adolescents look for information via the internet and then share it with peers, whose information is still unclear. To provide comprehensive reproductive health information for adolescents, care needs to be taken in the form of services and provision of accessible information.
The things that can be provided by schools related to reproductive health are:
- Improving adolescent knowledge related to reproductive health.
An explanation of the functions of the reproductive organs and also how to care for them.
- Provide understanding related to the management of sexual drive.
Sexual impulses is the desire to get sexual satisfaction, and it happens to everyone. This impulse occurs instinctively to men and women (who cannot be eliminated), but the choices can be channeled or managed in a healthy manner.
- Understanding the risks of sexual behavior.
Provide understanding to adolescents related to the risks that must be borne when engaging in unhealthy sex.
4. The existence of counseling on reproductive health services in schools, to provide comprehensive information related to reproduction that is not only limited to biology lessons, so that adolescents are not trapped in myths. Also, if there are cases that require help, they can be immediately handled.