168216 Promoting Healthier Life Choices with Adolescents in Cambodia

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thy Chea, MD MA , Health Department, Plan Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Luis Tam, MD DrPH , Plan USA, Arlington, VA
BACKGROUND. 16% of women in the Siem Reap province of Cambodia had sexual relationships before 18 years of age. Condoms were used in 3% of women and 50% of men during their first sexual intercourse. The unmet need for family planning among women aged 15-19 years is 25%. THE INITIATIVE. Given this situation, Plan Cambodia, an international, child-centered humanitarian organization, designed and implemented a project to improve the adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) in two districts of this province. Targeting men and women aged 15-24 years, the project's interventions were: (a) enabling a community and social supportive environment through women's and youth groups, community-focused edutainment and endorsement by formal and informal opinion leaders; (b) establishing referral for out-of-school youth based to community-based youth centers and health services and (c) organizing and conducting peer counseling. PROJECT RESULTS. In August 2007 and after one year of implementation, significant changes were found on the adolescents' knowledge and practices: (1) hundreds of adolescents were referred to VCT, STI/RTI or other SRH services; (2) the training of 100 peer educators and over 1500 parents more than doubled the knowledge of its participants; (3) parents learned on ASRH issues from their children; (4) orphan children due to HIV/AIDS received less discrimination from their peers and neighbors; and (5) participating adolescents were more aware of how to manage pre-marital sexual intercourse. CONSEQUENCES. Based on this preliminary progress, Plan Cambodia, the Ministry of Health and the project's implementing partners will expand the ASRH project to neighboring districts.

Learning Objectives:
To demonstrate the initial results of a comprehensive program addressing the reproductive health needs of adolescents in rural Cambodia.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Family Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the work presented in this abstract
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.