224792 Youth, sexual and reproductive health, and media and communication trends in post-conflict settings: Lessons from a baseline study in Timor-Leste

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 11:30 AM - 11:45 AM

Rafael Obregon, PhD , School of Media Arts and Studies, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Andrew Carlson, Doctoral Candidate , School of Media Arts & Studies, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Mario Mosquera, PhD; , Comunicacion Social, Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia
The purpose of this study was to collect baseline information and data regarding social and cultural norms, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding Family Planning and HIV/AIDS in Timor-Leste. The study was conducted between January/April 2009 as part of the national Behavior Change Communication strategy implemented by the Ministry of Health, intended to increase the use of family planning and birth spacing, and HIV/AIDS prevention. The study included more than 1000 survey respondents and 36 focus groups. This paper reports focus groups results. Three age group divisions (15-24, 25-34,35-49 years) were considered in the study, together with approximately equal numbers of participants of each gender, and equal representation of participants from rural and urban areas. Findings suggest relatively high levels of awareness of factors associated with family planning, birth spacing, and the risks concerning HIV/AIDS transmission in a rapidly changing socio-cultural environment. However, these levels of awareness did not always correspond to significant, actionable knowledge or intention. The study also found profound intergenerational differences in attitudes towards family planning and HIV/AIDS, with youth reporting increased agency and desire to make autonomous decisions regarding dating and sexual relationships, and older generations expressing the importance of traditional cultural practices (i.e.arranged marriage). These changes were associated with the role of community-based communication practices, and access to and use of new communication technologies. Findings present opportunities and challenges for stakeholders crafting campaigns to address these issues, and provide lessons for health communication practitioners working in post-conflict settings where community and new communication/media practices converge.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the changing values and social norms, attitudes, and behaviors regarding sexual and reproductive health among youth in post-conflict Timor-Leste. 2. Assess the opportunities and challenges facing health communication researchers and practitioners in Timor-Leste, especially those working among youth. 3. Formulate effective strategies for promoting healthy and protective behaviors regarding youth sexual and reproductive health in a rapidly changing socio-cultural environment.

Keywords: Youth, Reproductive Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the lead qualitative researcher on the project; in addition, for the past 15 years I have worked on public health communication projects in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, leading to publication of reports, books, and papers in established scientific journals.
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.