Summary of Study Session 5

In Study Session 5, you have learned that:

  1. There are both useful (such as breastfeeding; relieving women from work after delivery) and harmful traditional practices in Ethiopia that affect the health of adolescents and youth.
  2. Among the harmful traditional practices affecting young people in Ethiopia, female genital mutilation (FGM), early marriage, marriage by abduction and polygamy affect reproductive health.
  3. Communities have reasons for practising some of the harmful traditional practices. Some of the reasons for practising female genital mutilation include sociocultural reasons (such as ensuring girls’ virginity and hence the family’s honour), hygienic and aesthetic reasons (to make girls hygienically clean), spiritual and religious reasons (wrongly believing that it is required by their religion), and psychosexual reasons (to control the sex drive of uncircumcised girls).
  4. Parents desire early marriage for their daughters so that they can see many grandchildren before they die. Early marriage is also preferred by parents to ensure their daughters are virgins when they marry and hence live up to traditional expectations.
  5. Harmful traditional practices have multiple negative health consequences for adolescents (and, if they became pregnant, for their children). These consequences range from long- and short-term physical problems such as unwanted pregnancy, severe pain, bleeding and infections, to psychological problems such as mental disorders like depression and social consequences such as limited educational opportunities.
  6. HTPs and their complications are completely preventable. However, it is not easy to change traditions which have been practised for a long time. Hence, you need to raise awareness not only about the bad consequences of HTPs but also about the legal implications of such practices.

5.5  Intervention strategies to minimise and eliminate HTPs

Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 5