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Sexual Health of Prison Inmates: a neglected component of Integrated Reproductive Health Services in Nigeria.

Author(s) Muhammad Lawan Umar1, Sanusi Abubakar2, Isa Sadeeq Abubakar3, Nafisa Wali Yusuf 4
Affiliation(s) 1Community Medicine, Bayero University and Aminu Kano Teaching Hopital, Kano, Nigeria, 2Community Medicine, Bayero University and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria, 3Community Medicine, Bayero University and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano, Nigeria, 4Physiology, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria.
Country - ies of focus Nigeria
Relevant to the conference tracks Health Systems
Summary The ancillary policy for integrating Reproductive Health (RH) into the Primary Health Care (PHC) system in Nigeria aims to achieve a complete state of physical, social and mental well-being of all Nigerians in matters relating to RH. However, the sexual and reproductive health needs of the vulnerable prisons inmates has not been addressed yet. This work highlights the needs of this population in order to address the gaps needed for full integration of RH into the PHC system in Nigeria.
Background Sexual deprivation in prisons is considered a punitive measure for prison inmates in Nigeria thereby subjecting them to circumstantial deviant sexual acts and psychological ill health.
Objectives This study was to investigate the guidelines and provisions for sexual and reproductive health of prison inmates in Kano Central prison, Nigeria, and the various forms of expressing sexual desire and coping strategies among inmates.
Methodology A mixed method study comprising of 20 in-dept interviews with different cadres of the prison officials and quantitative interviews with 160 inmates. Data were analysed using SPSS version 16.0, and the grounded theory approach was used for the qualitative component.
Results There is currently no guideline on sexual and reproductive health of prison inmates in Nigeria. Cases of sexual harrassment/abuse are being reported but there are no registers or reported documentations of sexual harrasment/abuse, nor provision for conjugal visits or furlough for inmates. There is no stipulated punishment for sexual abuse/harrassment in the prison. About three-quarters (74.4%) and 55.6% inmates reported that sexual harassment and mastubartion respectively were the most common forms of expressing sexual desire in the prison. Sexual desire is more among male inmates (χ2 = 4.31, p 0.05) and married inmates (χ2 = 0.27, p > 0.05). Coping strategies for sexual desire reported were anal sex (59.4%), masturbation (57.5%), fondling with each other’s genitals (26.3%), digital stimulation of each other’s anus (16.9%), or vagina (2.5%) and oral sex (1.3%). Nineteen respondents (11.9%) reported being sexually abused either by anal sex, 3 (15.8%), inserting finger/object in the anus, 4 (21.0%), rape, 3 (15.8%) or forceful fondling with genitalia, 9 (47.4%).
Conclusion Sexual and reproductive health of prison inmates suffers from serious neglect in Nigeria. There is a need for the RH unit of the FMOH to work closely with Nigerian prisons to develop guidelines on the reproductive health and rights of inmates in Nigeria in order to promote full integration of RH into the PHC system, and to preserve the fundamental human rights of Nigerian inmates.

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