The role of community health nurses in promoting school learners’ reproductive health in North West province

Abstract

Background: Reproductive health education is a major component in schools, which is delivered through Life Orientation and Life Science subjects. Providing sexual and reproductive health education and services remains a challenge in schools of many countries, as well as South Africa. Community health nurses have the responsibility to initiate and participate in reproductive health promotion initiatives in schools. Aim: To explore the roles of community health nurses in the promotion of school learners’ reproductive health in schools. Setting: This study was conducted in the clinics of Madibeng municipality in North West province, South Africa. Methods: An exploratory qualitative research study was conducted using in-depth interviews for data collection. The population included community health nurses who were sampled purposively. Results: Community health nurses revealed that their primary role was to provide health education to learners, particularly in clinics. Furthermore, they revealed that they did not visit schools and had no communication with teachers regarding learners’ reproductive health issues. Conclusion: The Department of Education has opened a platform for the provision of reproductive health education in schools through various teacher-led initiatives. However, this has posed a significant challenge to teachers as they may not be willing to deliver sensitive and sexually themed information to learners. To ensure effective delivery of reproductive health education in schools, community health nurses, teachers and other relevant stakeholders must collaborate in schools. Contribution: This article highlights the importance of community health nurses visiting schools to promote the reproductive health of school learners

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