Promotion of Girls Reproductive Knowledge Through a Health Camp Intervention

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 1:50 PM

Adejoke B. Ayoola, PhD, RN1
Barbara Bosscher Timmermans, PhD, RN1
Josephine Granner, BSN2
Donald Bryant3
Elise Veurink, BSN, RN1
(1)Department of Nursing, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, USA
(2)Calvin College Department of Nursing, Grand Rapids, MI, USA
(3)Bryant's Healthcare Solutions, Caledonia, MI, USA

Purpose: The importance of preconception understanding and monitoring of the female reproductive system is supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics. These organizations recommend that the evaluation of menstrual cycles should be included with an assessment of other vital signs, and that adolescent girls should be educated about normal menstrual cycles and the charting of the cycles (1). In addition, two of the goals of preconception care are to improve the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of women related to preconception health, and to reduce the disparities in adverse pregnancy outcomes (2). Women’s general knowledge of the reproductive system, menstrual cycle, and its associated changes is needed for effective reproductive planning before pregnancy occurs. It is essential to start this education early, especially considering that the life course approach has been identified as one of the possible ways to address health disparities among ethnic minority women and promote reproductive health and positive birth outcomes (3-6). This study examined whether a one-week health camp integrated with reproductive health sessions can improve the girls’ knowledge of ovulation, menstrual cycle and some of the negative consequences of sexually transmitted infections.

Methods: This is a simple descriptive pre- and post-assessments survey used to determine the impact of the HEALTH camp intervention. This study was guided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Action Framework, with a focus on the first Action, which is to make health a shared value, with a driver of creating a mindset and expectations that value health promotion and well-being. The camps included two one-week health promotion day camps designed for young girls ages 9 -15 years from low socioeconomic and diverse racial backgrounds in an urban medically underserved area. The camps focused on promoting a culture of health, educating girls about their bodies, leadership, and the health professions. Week 1 included 49 girls ages 9 – 12 years, and week 2 included 42 girls ages 12-15 years, with a total of 91 girls who participated in the post-camp surveys. The reproductive health content span two sessions. Session 1 is on female reproductive anatomy and physiology, the female hormones, puberty and its associated changes. Session 2 focused on the importance of reproductive health for girls and young adults, including female hygiene due to the physiological changes associated with puberty such as body odor, use of menstrual pad, tampon, changes in PH and common body discharges associated with puberty. In addition to these, the older girls in week 2, are taught about risk and consequences of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as HIV/AIDs, Chlamydia, genital warts etc. as well as how to be safe and prevent STI using the acronym ABC (Abstain, Be faithful, & use Condoms).

Results: The 91 girls from the two weeks did not know the life span of a woman’s egg. In week 1, there was a significant increase (p<0.01) in the girls’ knowledge in 7 out of 8 questions on reproductive anatomy and physiology such as functions of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, ovulation, number of eggs released per month. In week 2, there was a significant increase (p<0.01) in the older girls’ (12-15 years) knowledge of reproductive anatomy and physiology, and sexually transmitted infections (7 out of 13 questions). Post-camp result shows that 83.3% of the girls knew the number of eggs released by a woman per month (versus 55% during pretest). Only 42.5% knew that fallopian tubes are needed for having a baby during pretest, but this significantly increased to 76.2% at post-test (p=0.00). Pretest, some did not know the average number of days for a regular menstrual cycle (40%), what ovulation is (44%), the ovulation timing (70%), the number of eggs released from an ovary each month (45%). During posttest, 71.4% (versus 37.5% pretest; p=0.00) knew that if a woman gets a STI that is caused by a virus, she will have that disease for the rest of her life, 83.3% (versus 52.5% pretest; p=0.00) STI's can cause cancer in your cervix.

Conclusion: Adolescent girls’ knowledge about their reproductive health, namely, ovulation and ovulation time, menstrual cycle and some of the negative consequences of STIs can be improved in a one-week health promotion day camps. Nurses and health professionals need to avail of different community settings to equip young adolescents with relevant reproductive information to promote reproductive and sexual health.