CSE and how to involve Health professionals?


CSE and how to involve Health professionals?

Early November there was an online course on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) organised by the Portuguese APF (Associação para o Planeamento da Família), together with the IPPF, ESC and Unesco. In online meetings we got several very interesting presentations about the core aims and implementation of CSE. The basic principles were known to me, but it was very interesting and a bit shocking to hear how problematic the implementation in some countries can be. The implementation of CSE is difficult in a conservative population (often the Ministry of Education is more conservative than the Ministry of Health) and if there is any education this will mainly be about health and prevention of medical harm. Often parents oppose school-based CSE. Sexuality is considered a private area. Also, there are still misconceptions about what school education would entail and there is fear of unwanted results (early start of sex). Participants agreed sexuality education should start from birth with aims to enhance knowledge about bodies, recognising yes and no feelings etc. but this is a relatively uncharted territory. In principle CSE should involve health professionals and health centers. It should be monitored, assessed and evaluated. In Europe sexuality education is only comprehensive in 10 countries and in 12 countries there is heavy resistance to it. In the countries with CSE, there is high use of modern contraception, low teenage births and no signs of an early sexual initiation. In most countries however there is little attention to pleasure and sexual well-being, even though this is a part of sexual rights. Another uncharted territory. Some country examples were given with different approaches to CSE.

At the end of the course some advice was given to involve health providers in CSE, which could be interesting to our members:

  • Identify health providers and other relevant professionals who have regular contact with children, adolescents, and young people.
  • Ask service providers to deliver factual information during CSE sessions or in activities aimed at engaging parents and other community members.
  • Ask for feedback from professionals about gaps in information and knowledge that they have identified in children, adolescents, and young people who access referral services.
  • Discuss with health providers and others (social workers, community workers, police) how best to interact with and respond to children, adolescents, and young people, especially children, adolescents, and young people who express signs of physical or emotional problems.

For those of you interested in the useful links that were given, we have added them to the ESC Weblibary on Sexuality Education:

Olga Loeber

The Netherlands

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