Tailoring a sexual health curriculum to the sexual health challenges seen by midwifery, nursing and medical providers and students in Tanzania

B. R.Simon Rosser, Dickson A. Mkoka, Corissa T. Rohloff, Lucy R. Mgopa, Michael W. Ross, Gift G. Lukumay, Inari Mohammed, Agnes F. Massae, Ever Mkonyi, Stella E. Mushy, Dorkasi L. Mwakawanga, Nidhi Kohli, Maria E. Trent, James Wadley, Zobeida E. Bonilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Tanzania is a country experiencing multiple sexual health challenges, but providers receive no formal training in sexual health. Aim: This study aimed to assess (1) what sexual health challenges are commonly seen in clinics in Tanzania, (2) which are raised by patients, (3) which are not addressed and (4) which topics to prioritise for a sexual health curriculum. Setting: Healthcare settings in Tanzania. Methods: Participants were 60 experienced and 61 student doctors, nurses and midwives working in Dar es Salaam. The authors conducted 18 focus groups stratified by profession (midwifery, nursing or medicine) and experience (practitioners vs. students). Results: Providers identified six common sexual health concerns: (1) Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and sexually transmissible infection (STI) (especially syphilis and gonorrhoea), (2) sexual violence (including intimate partner violence and female genital mutilation), (3) early and unwanted pregnancy (including early sexual debut and complications from abortion), (4) sexual dysfunctions, (5) key population concerns (e.g. lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT); sex work) and (6) nonprocreative sexual behaviour (including pornography and masturbation in males and oral and anal sex practices in heterosexual couples). Across professions, few differences were observed. Homosexuality, sex work, masturbation and pornography were identified as taboo topics rarely discussed. Most participants (81%) wanted one comprehensive sexual health curriculum delivered across disciplines. Conclusion: A sexual health curriculum for health students in Tanzania needs to address the most common sexual health concerns of patients. In addition to teaching sexual science and clinical care, skills training in how to address taboo topics is recommended. Students endorsed almost all sexual health topics, which suggests that a comprehensive curriculum is appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera3434
JournalAfrican Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Institutes of Health, Grant no.: 1 R01 HD092655.

Funding Information:
M.E.T. receives funding from the National Institutes of Health, research supplies from SpeeDx (Speedx, LLC, Florida, United States), through a material transfer agreement with Johns Hopkins University and serves as a consultant to the American Academy of Pediatrics and to Church and Dwight, Inc. for the Trojan Sexual Health Advisory Council for unrelated work. The other authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article. The terms of this arrangement have been reviewed and approved by the University of Minnesota in accordance with its policy on objectivity in research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. The Authors. Licensee: AOSIS. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.


  • Curriculum
  • Hiv infections
  • Masturbation
  • Medical
  • Nursing
  • Schools
  • Sexual and gender minorities
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sexual health
  • Sexual violence
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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