Publications & Reports

"These issues aren't talked about at home": a qualitative study of the sexual and reproductive health information preferences of adolescents in Vanuatu.

Kennedy EC, Bulu S, Harris J, Humphreys D, Malverus J, Gray NJ
Centre for International Health, Burnet Institute, 85 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. [email protected]


BACKGROUND: Onset of sexual activity during adolescence is common in Vanuatu, however access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) information is limited. Improving adolescents' knowledge about SRH is necessary to improve health outcomes, however little is known about the information needs and preferences of adolescents in the Pacific to inform policy and programs in this region. METHODS: Sixty-six focus group discussions were conducted with 341 male and female adolescents aged 15-19 years from rural and urban communities on two islands of Vanuatu. Twelve key-informant interviews were also conducted with policymakers and health service providers. Data were analysed thematically using an inductive approach. RESULTS: Much of the SRH information targeting adolescents focused on sexually transmitted infections and HIV. While this information was valued, important gaps were identified including prevention of pregnancy, condom use, puberty, sexuality and relationships. Peer educators and health workers were adolescents' preferred sources of information because they were considered knowledgeable and trustworthy. Parents were not a common source but were preferred, particularly by girls, despite considerable socio-cultural barriers. Schools were an important but underutilised source of information, as were a range of media sources. CONCLUSIONS: Providing adolescents with comprehensive SRH information can have life-long protective benefits, however there are important content gaps in information currently provided in Vanuatu. The broad range of sources preferred by adolescents highlights the need to strengthen information provision through multiple channels to reach in and out-of-school youth and respond to individual needs and contexts.



  • Journal: BMC Public Health
  • Published: 30/07/2014
  • Volume: 14
  • Pagination: 770


Health Issue