Despite so many changes in Nepalese society, sex and reproductive health related issue is still taboos in Nepal. Although Nepalese youths are sexually active in the age between 18-19, they are afraid to talk their sexual life with even with their family.
Given such a situation, a finding of the research study conducted by Marie Stopes Nepal on Youth Friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Services: An exploratory study on the SRH experiences and needs of young people in Nepal, will greatly help Nepal’s SRH sector.
The age 18-19 is a common age for first sex in Nepal. The sexual activities depend upon gender, martial status and age.
“Awareness and use of contraception is very diverse and depends on various factors. However, communication among youths is high (mostly on condom, pills and EC). Use of contraception is very contextual (planned vs casual/unplanned),” said a research presented by Deepika Bhatt, youth research coordinator.
Use Of Contraception
According to study, condom and pills the most popular method; LARC use is not common. However, unmarried girls fear of contraception use due to being identified by parents and friends, rely on male partners to use condoms .Concerns about safety, side effects (future fertility), privacy and comfort (among both partners).
“Use of contraceptives differs from a person to person, youths most likely don’t use it at their first time and consider using contraceptives as they gradually open to each other in a relation,” said 20 years old, male client.
The research also showed that there is mixed understanding of abortion and MA preferred over MVA. Youths heard about abortion (about safe and unsafe abortion (licensed vs. non licensed) types of abortion procedure (MA and MVA),” said report.
Male considers MA private; can be taken as convenient to them [although they feel it’s painful and can cause excess bleeding. More males are concerned about taking MA than females. MVA is perceived more risky in terms of procedure (understood as an operation) and confidentiality.
EC used as FP in some cases and less informed about side effects. They used as convenience pills. However, urban youths more aware than those in rural; used more as FP; male youths take this easy.
Most of the youths are aware, but it’s use is alarming among few of them • Easily available in all facilities/ cost ranged from NPR 60-200; Econ and I-Pill popular brands or as 72 hour pill ,
Youths are less informed about side effects (mostly bought by male partners; male partners do not convey info on side effects to the users.
“I don’t remember how many times I have taken EC. After I had sexual contact, then I take medicine and wait for 72 hours, but if I had sex again within 3 days, I would take it again. I have been using EC for 8 months,” shares 20 years old unmarried girl.
According to a study, use of contraceptives differs from a person to person. Youths most likely don’t use it at their first time and consider using contraceptives as they gradually open to each other in a relation.
“I don’t remember how many times I have taken EC. After I had sexual contact, then I take medicine and wait for 72 hours, but if I had sex again within 3 days, I would take it again. I have been using EC for 8 months”- 20 years old unmarried girl.
“Most youths are sexually active, varied by gender, marital status and age . However, age 18-19 years is a common age for first sex. Talk on relationship and sex is more common among male youths; more peer pressure for sex; exaggeration around sex and sexual relationship,” said Bhatt, Youth Research Coordinator presenting the study.
“Emotional pressure from partners/husband more frequently cited among married female youths “Some people (partner/husband) give emotional pressure to their partner if they (girlfriend/wives) refuse to have sex with them,” said 20 years, female.
“The girl who need it, will send someone to buy, the buyer will not be interested in asking these questions,” said a female client from nonYFSC.
Marie Stopes pop-up volunteers are popular among the youth as they are friendly to talk of Sexual and Reproductive Health. In the period of four years, Pop-Up volunteers felt their skills improved and acknowledged despite of many challenges.
These group of volunteers support the youths in trouble on the SRH. “They were wearing Orange color jackets with ‘No Condom No Sex’ written on it, they gave information about SRH. In this way, I also knew about Marie Stopes” – 21 years old, male client I was very tensed after unprotected sex with my girlfriend. Near my work place, I knew a girl who wore a pop-up T-shirt. I asked her if she works in this issue. After sharing my problem, she gave me a medicine (EC),“ said 23 years old male.
Supported by Australian Aid, Youth Project is first of its kinds which focused on SRH activities of youth.
Addressing the program, Sohie Hodder, country director of Marie Stopes Nepal said that the finding will help government and other agencies working in SRH to understand the behavior of youth.
Opened by KP Updhyaya, senior Advisor-Policy and External Relationss, StyaJit Pradhan, Director Marketing and Communication, introduced Rocket and Space brand showing how it influencing the behavior of youth.
Nilima Raut, manager Youth and Newlywed Project, highlighted the activities of the project and its contribution to raise awareness on SRH among young population.
Attended by the senior officials from Ministry of Health, Deepika Bhatta Youth Research Coordinator revealed very interesting fact about sexual and reproductive health of youth of Nepal.
Pop-up Volunteer Roni Shakya narrates how difficulty to work as a youth volunteer to raise awareness on SRH. “Despite all difficulties, we were able to work successfully in society.