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The results of the study of risk factors in the field of reproductive health of young people of the Rostov region were discussed at a round table.

On July 13, within the framework of the project “Comprehensive program of support for vulnerable youth in the field of reproductive health and social well-being”, implemented by the FOCUS MEDIA Foundation and the Rostov Youth NGO “Young Doctors of the Don” with the support of the European Union, a round table “Health of expectant dads and moms” was held in Rostov-on-Don.

The event brought together specialists involved in providing assistance and medical, social, psychological and other services to adolescents and young people in the field of reproductive health.

During the event, the results of the study “Risk factors of infection and issues of prevention of sexually transmitted infections among young people”, conducted in 2020-2021 among the youth of the Rostov region by ANO Atlas NGO, a partner of the project in the region, were presented.

The study showed that the participants noted the insufficiency and unreliability of the information available to them about reproductive health. They are ready to receive this kind of information from those social groups with which they relate themselves (friends, partners, possibly youth programs). In order for young people to perceive information about reproductive health, its presentation should not be in terms and definitions, but in algorithms of actions in a particular situation, with a visual series and dialog formats of communication. At the same time, the findings of the study indicate the lack of formation of participants’ ideas about reproductive health as an integral system of physical, mental and social well-being in all aspects related to the reproductive system at all stages of life. Moreover, boys and girls do not refer the term “reproductive health” to themselves (to their body, to their health).

Thus, the main criteria for understanding the term “reproductive health” were designated by respondents in all age groups as “the ability to give birth to healthy children” — 46.6%, 24.7% designated as “physical health” and 21.6% as “safe intimate life”. When asked with whom reproductive health issues were most often discussed, the majority of respondents chose the option “friends/girlfriends” (23% of all age groups). The same question with the option “rarely” was answered by 38% of respondents of all age groups with “mom”, “doctors”, “teachers” and “on the Internet/social networks”. Options for discussing reproductive health issues with “participants of public organizations”, “participants of youth movements” and “booty” – 70% of respondents in all age groups indicated that they had never done this. The older the age group, the more often young people discuss reproductive health issues with a “partner”.

33% of respondents received information on the topics of reproductive health and intimate life — “helps to make an informed decision about the beginning of intimate life,” 27% of respondents believe that it does not affect them in any way, and 23% of respondents this information “helps to choose a method of protection from undesirable consequences.”

The situations of seeking help remain problematic: the family is practically not perceived as a source of support and assistance in critical situations in all age groups of respondents. In all age groups, survey participants were more likely to say that they would not be able to discuss intimate life issues with their parents. But at the same time, almost everyone declared their readiness to consult a specialist if symptoms of sexually transmitted infections appear.

But the issue of accessibility of specialists of the appropriate profile for young people is also not easy. Thus, its head, an obstetrician-gynecologist, told about the opening of the first Reproductive Health Center in the Rostov region

Nesterovich Oksana Nikolaevna. She noted that the Center is being created on the basis of Rostov-on-Don Children’s Hospital No. 1 and will provide not only medical and diagnostic assistance, but also psychological and social, implement educational and educational events and screening programs. This is how the school of reproductive health and the program for early detection of breast diseases in girls are already working. As part of the round table, the coordinator of the Dance4Life Russia project in the Rostov region, Diana Lyubimaya, presented the experience of implementing the preventive program “Journey for Life”. The program covers 588 teenagers and young people. The program is aimed at the personal development of adolescents, including issues related to the preservation of reproductive health.

The author of the project “About the important”, doctor Katerina Pinchukova shared her experience of educational activities in the field of preserving reproductive health. This project also uses youth culture and the “learning through entertainment” approach to convey information to young people. However, its developers complained about the fears of a wider introduction of this practice due to legislative uncertainty regarding what information about the preservation of reproductive health can be discussed with adolescents and from what age.

“One of the tasks of the recent round table “Health of expectant dads and moms” is to consolidate organizations and specialists, exchange experience and strengthen our potential in preserving the health of young people. At the same time, we are concerned not only about existing programs and services, but also how to achieve a significant social effect in this area with their help. This is the first meeting of this format. We have already identified topics for the next meetings and agreed that we will develop our platform, invite new experts,” said Roman Polikarpov, Chairman of the Young Doctors of the Don RMBOO.

The round table was held within the framework of the project “Comprehensive program of support for vulnerable youth in the field of reproductive health and social well-being”, implemented in the Rostov region jointly with the FOCUS MEDIA Foundation with the support of the European Union.