235228 Bangladesh – Adolescent boys and girls commit to improve their sexual and reproductive health behaviors after peer-conducted life skills training

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 12:30 PM

Tahmina Mirza , International Program, Plan International USA, Washington, DC
Hassan Ali, MSS, MBA , Health Team, Plan International Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh
THE SITUATION - In Bangladesh, 50% of all 15-19 year-old females are married; 30% are already mothers, and another 5% are pregnant with their first child. The maternal mortality ratio among adolescent mothers is 30% higher than the national average. In this context, enhancing the knowledge and skills of adolescent girls and boys to make informed decisions on their sexual and reproductive health needs is very important. THE PROGRAM - Since 2008, Plan International, a child-centered humanitarian organization, has been implementing a four-year ‘Life Skills Building for Adolescents” intervention for 5,485 rural and urban adolescent groups. In each group, peer educators provide counseling and referral services to adolescent boys and girls in schools, youth groups, health facilities, social groups, and sports associations, using an action-oriented manual with topics such as changes during adolescence, how to say ‘no,' negotiation skills, preparations for marriage and family planning. Counseling sessions with peer educators resulted in commitments from targeted adolescents. RESULTS - 83% of 102,447 targeted adolescents were reached by peer educators. Among them, 5,308 adolescents (3,037 females) decided to postpone an early marriage; 4,485 (1,991 females) decided to prevent dowry; 3,863 (2,056 females) decided to use contraceptives and 21, 995 (12,377 females) decided to use the local reproductive health services. CONSEQUENCES - In the next two years, Plan International will scale up this intervention among new populations. The sustainability of the peer educators is being addressed by linking them to existing government, NGO or private health providers.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Provision of health care to the public
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
To discuss the importance of peer education in adolescent heath programs.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Program Implementation
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.