Factsheet: Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs in Emergencies

Posted by Nicole Moran on October 24, 2019 at 1:17 pm


This factsheet, titled “Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs in Emergencies” which has been developed by IAWG provides key statistics and information on the needs and sexual and reproductive health (SRH) risks facing adolescents in emergency settings. In addition, the resource recommends four key strategies to prioritize when implementing adolescent-focused SRH programming in humanitarian contexts.

The sexual and reproductive health needs (SRH) of adolescents intensify during emergencies, as family and social structures are disrupted and existing gender imbalances between men and women are exacerbated. Emergencies are closely associated with violence and poverty, which also compound the chance of psychological disorders and increase mental health needs for adolescents. For adolescent girls, these circumstances can result in higher risks of sexual abuse, exploitation, and violence, and lead to transmission of sexually transmitted infections and/or unwanted pregnancies— increasing the likelihood of unsafe abortions. In addition, adolescent girls face high risk of early marriage,with limited access to SRH information and services. Pregnancy and childbirth
is particularly risky for adolescents in low-income settings due to a combination of inadequate nutrition, limited access to healthcare, and bodies that have not fully matured. Consequently, complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15-19 year old girls globally. Additionally, in refugee settings girls struggle with menstrual hygiene management due to a lack of private water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities, clean water, and disposal options.

Adolescent boys also face particular vulnerabilities during crises, including recruitment into armed forces; human trafficking; sexual abuse, exploitation, and violence (including rape); and increase of aggressive and risky behaviors—such as alcohol and drug use, as well as unprotected sex. Unaccompanied boys and young men may also engage in transactional or survival sex, increasing their risk for sexually transmitted infections.

To read IAWG’s factsheet, please click on the following link

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