Factors affecting parent-child communication on issues of sexual and reproductive health, Tororo District, Uganda
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INTRODUCTION: Parent- child communication on issues of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is very important in improving the reproductive health status of a community and is of public concern. In Tororo district, a big number of parents donot discuss with their children issues of SRH., yet a large proportion of the children are sexually active. Break down of communication on issues of SRH is a contributory factor to the children’s engagement in high risk sexual behavior. GENERAL OBJECTIVE: To determine the factors affecting parent- child communication about issues of SRH at household level in Tororo district in order to design appropriate strategies to address the sexual and reproductive health problems in the district. METHODS: The study was conducted in Tororo district. It was a descriptive cross sectional study employing both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. Multistage random sampling was used and a total of 400 parents/caretakers were interviewed. Semi structured questionnaires were used for quantitative data and FGD and KI guides for qualitative data. Data was coded, entered and analysed using Epi-Info 3.2.2 version and SPSS sottware. Master sheet analysis was used for the qualitative data. RESULTS: The median age of the parents/caretakers was 40 years and the majority (60%) of the parents/caretakers had ever discussed issues of SRH with their children. Alarge proportion of the parents/caretakers (63%) were willing to offerSRH education to their children. Factors associated with parental discussions were: being married (OR 1.72:CI 1.15-2.63), having the willingness to communicate (OR 8.518; CI 5.31-13.67) and a high knowledge (OR 2.81: CI 1.64-4.80) and the association was statistically significant. The attitude of the parents/caretakers was positive towards children having SRH education and the parents/caretakers were of the opinion that the mean age for the children to begin having SRH education was 12 years. Sixty seven percent of the male parents/caretakers were comfortable talking to male children while 79% of the female parents/caretakers were comfortable talking to the female children. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS: A large proportion of parents/caretakers were willing to have discussions with their children on issues of SRH snd half of the parents/caretakers admitted to having ever discussed with their children. Both willingness to communicate and high knowlesge on issues of SRH favored parent-child discussions. The positive attitude of the parents/caretaker should be taken advantage of and the DHT should continue to emphasise the use of mass media to solicit involvement of parents in providing sex education to their children and hence minimizing the ;;cultural obstacles’’ related to sexuality communication. Information and skills to ebnable them overcome the communication barriers related to talking about sexuality issues and simplified information should be availed to the parents and caretakers to enable them talk to the children under there care.