221951 Sexual Education Needs Assessment in Burmese Refugee School-Aged Adolescents

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Victoria Aucoin , Undergraduate School of Public Health, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Laura Rudberg , Undergraduate School of Public Health, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Sharuna Verghis , Health Equity Initiative, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Latha Rajan, MD, MPH&TM , Tropical Medicine, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
BACKGROUND The Burmese refugee community is one of the largest refugee communities in Malaysia. In these communities, young people of opposite sexes, and not related by blood, live in close proximity to each other in overcrowded housing arrangements leading to a large amount of sexual abuse. However, there is currently no mechanism of risk/vulnerability identification within the communities, therefore the exact prevalence of child sexual abuse may be higher than conceived by the adults in the community. Furthermore, the Burmese are heavily rooted in their religious and cultural beliefs; therefore, sex is rarely or never discussed. The purpose of this study was to assess the need for sexual health education in Burmese refugee school-aged adolescents.

METHODS A 37- question survey including questions on sexual anatomy, sexual behaviors, and sexual risks was developed in English then translated into the Burmese dialect. A representative from the UNHCR and school principals approved the survey. The questionnaire was administered in three refugee community schools. A total of 114 adolescents (males= 63, females= 51) participated.

RESULTS Data was analyzed using SPSS. Results displayed a significantly high lack of knowledge regarding sexual anatomy, sexually transmitted infection, and prevention methods. The results also showed that sexual abuse was prevalent among the Burmese refugee population.

CONCLUSION Our study demonstrated that the refugees are in dire need of basic sexual health education. The findings from this study will be addressed in a sexual education manual, currently being developed through our partner organization Health Equity Initiative in Kuala Lumpur.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss sexual education disparities among the refugee population in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the role of religious beliefs and government oppression in regards to access to knowledge 2. Evaluate Burmese refugee studentsí responses to questions on sexual anatomy, behaviors, and risks 3. Design a sexual education module that caters to cultural beliefs 4. Discuss benefits and challenges of working with a community partner and the UNHCR

Keywords: Adolescents, International, Reproductive Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I spent over 4 weeks doing fieldwork, interviews, and community health worker training in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I have conducted numerous interviews with experts in the field of refugee affairs through our partner organization Health Equity Initiative and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. I also spent time with each refugee sect allowing me to gain a better understanding of my subjects.
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.