The end point of it is abstinence: a qualitative analysis of underlying factors influencing Christian leaders’ adoption and implementation of sex and sexuality education in Bolgatanga, Ghana

Augustina Dechegme Achigibah*, Melody AmdjadFar, John K. Krugu, Robert A.C. Ruiter, Fraukje E.F. Mevissen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health challenges are of global public health concern and good quality sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education has an important role to play in addressing these negative sexual health outcomes. Yet in most Sub-Saharan African countries including Ghana, there is limited implementation of SRH education. Several environmental factors hinder the implementation of SRH education with the attitudes expressed by religious leaders having a major impact. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 15 Christian leaders in Bolgatanga, Ghana, to explore the factors influencing their decision to adopt and implement SRH education. Findings show that although Christian leaders were aware of (unsafe) sexual practices among adolescents, they held a conservative position on SRH education. While leaders were open to educating adolescents about sexual health, most held the opinion that SRH education for adolescents should be limited to abstinence-only and not acknowledge sexual activity or promote contraceptive use. Beliefs related to sexual morality, the perceived cause(s) of teenage pregnancy, and perceived responsibility for SRH education influenced Christian leaders’ thinking about SRH education. Implementing SRH education programmes to address young people’s sexual behaviour will require intervention programmes to change Christian leaders’ beliefs and attitudes towards SRH education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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