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September 2003

Announcement of publication

Socio-cultural constraints and the need for information about reproductive health for youth and men in Cameroon

Case study 21

by the Communication for Development Group
Extension, Education and Communication Service
FAO Research, Extension and Training Dicvision

In collaboration with:

PROJECT FPA/CMR/903/FPA
Community information, education and communication
in the area of reproductive health, Cameroon

This study was undertaken in rural Cameroon, in 18 villages in the central, southern, eastern and extreme northern provinces. The study concentrated upon understanding socio-cultural factors which discourage the use of health centers by men and youth, in addition to understanding their needs for reproductive health information. The study illustrates constraints upon the use of health centers and the utilization of family planning, especially among men and youth. The study also examines the most appropriate communication networks and the most requested reproductive health information among the surveyed public.

The survey reports that the most requested reproductive health information needs for the local populations are closely matched to local health issues: HIV/AIDS, undesired pregnancies, abortion, maternal and infant mortality, and the parents' role in sex education. The most appropriate communication methods for the diffusion of information were determined to be: theatre performances, rural radio, provincial radio, audio cassettes, video and the organization of informal educational meetings. In examining socio-cultural factors hindering the use of health centers and of family planning, the study reports that the surveyed population was supportive of large families. Approximately 30% of those surveyed believed strongly in traditional medicine. Additionally, the poor quality of services provided by health centers and the alienation of the health centers from the local communities, coupled with the financial constraints of the rural populations, all serve as factors to further weaken the use of local health centers.

(Only available in French)

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