This study assessed if parents communicate with their young people about sex and reproductive health, the depth, the circumstances, the frequency and the timing of the communication both from parents’ and young peoples’ perspectives. The people involved in the communication, topics discussed, barriers to communication and the responsiveness of the parents in communicating with young people about SRH related were also assessed
In this study, 882(42.5%) (44.2% of male & 41% of female) young people reported to have ever discussed on sexual and reproductive health topics with their parents or parent figures during their life time. This finding is much lower than the result of study done in Mexico  that 83.1% reported having spoken with their parents about sex relations However it is relatively larger than the finding of the study done in Zeway, Ethiopia that only 20% of parents reported to ever have discussed with their children . This difference may be attributable to the difference in the study population that the study done in Zeway collected information from parents while the current study collected information from young people. Similar to previous study  males and females were equally likely to discuss about SRH during the last six months that about one-third of both females (32.4%) and males (32.7%) reported to have discussed with their parents on topics related to reproductive health. This finding is lower than from the study result done in Ghana that more (46%) of females than males (28%) often talked to family members about sexual matters .
A Study done in Tanzania showed that communication about sex was mainly with the same sex (mother- daughter and father-son . Likewise, in the current study, young people preferred discussion with same sex on SRH matters. From family members, females are more likely to discuss with their mothers (20.4%) while male young people discussed more with their fathers and brothers (10.3%). Other extended family members like grand parents, uncles and aunts were the least (<5%) to be mentioned as the source of information on SRH. This is in agreement with other finding . This could be attributed to the expansion of formal educations, that facilitates early union of young people with peers, and parents’ migration from their original residence areas seeking jobs and leaving grand parents behind, the role of traditional extended family as a socializing agent is being eroded.
In the current study, both males and females reported to discuss more with nonfamily members of the same sex friends. More than fifty percent of both males (58.7%) and females (57.3%) mentioned that they prefer to get sexual and reproductive health related information from their friends than from their parents. This is in agreement with other research results . This may is because parents were not responsive to young peoples’ questions hence, young people opt their friends for information they need.
Although it is generally low, the level of communication relatively increases with respondents’ age. Earlier literature states that the extent of communication on sexual and reproductive health matters increase with age and continuing through young adulthood .
This study revealed that young people start sexual intercourse as early as 8–9 years of age. Again the large proportion of both males (73.4%) and females (80.2%) reported to start sexual intercourse between the ages of 15–19 years while parent communication starts late. For example, more than fifty percent of males (59.8%) and females (59.6%) reported to start discussions on SRH between the ages of 15–18. This may imply that parents increase the extent of communication when they suspect that their children might have started sex then communication starts to decline in the older young people as parents may assume that young people at this age are adults.
Nevertheless, this result should be taken with caution because at this age, either parents might have discussed on more topics intentionally based on their children’s age or parents might have increased communication as they were becoming aware that their children have started sex at this age. However, the over all results of the current study suggests that communication about sex was initiated earlier.
On the other hand, a large proportion (65.6%) of the young people reported that SRH related topics were rarely discussed in the family. They believed that the issue suddenly becomes a point of discussion only when related problems occur or seen among young people in the area; like when early pregnancy [premarital] and HIV related problems happens to a young people in the area, like abortion, and related complications and deaths occur to their neighbor's children, or heard it from Media.
This finding is also substantiated by the qualitative result that parent-young people communication about sex and RH is rare and begins late. Earlier studies also found that parent-adolescent communication about sex begins late and that communication was triggered by seeing or hearing something a parent perceived negative and would not like their child to experience it [20, 22]. This supports the hypothesis that parent communication about sexual and reproductive health starts at late age when parents suspect that their children started love relationship which has a programmatic importance that parent should be educated to start communication at early age.
The range of parent-young people communication was narrow that only limited topics were coming up in the discussions. The most commonly reported topics of discussions were: HIV/STI, sexual abstinence, body change during puberty and unwanted pregnancy. Other SRH related topics like use of condom, negotiating for safe sex, menstruation and family planning were the least frequently coming up topics in the discussions. This finding is consistent with prior study  that parents mostly discuss on HIV/AIDS and abstinence. This may be because of the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS, while loss of virginity and premarital pregnancy is defaming the families (normative issue) as reflected in FGDs. On the other hands, it could be due to the fact that the issue of HIV is commonly presented on media or parents will tend to avoid talking about sex-related sensitive topics.
The influence of lack of perceived parental knowledge, intergenerational cultural taboos attached to sexual issues and comfort reinforce each other and made parent-young people communication challenging. The interesting finding of this study is that both parent and young people discussants perceived that the barriers to the communication arise both from parents and young people sides. According to literature , parents’ behavior can influence the young people’s behavior; however, as communication is bidirectional, parents’ behaviors could also be influenced by young people’s behaviors. Therefore, the contribution of both parents and the young people is important for the occurrence of quality communication.
As the study used different data collection methods and a variety of sources of data, this result gives a better and balanced picture of the situation. More over, this study used both the life time and the recent information (six months) to minimize recall bias.
This study has its own limitation in that the participants reply might have been affected by social desirability that may have affected the validity of the result. The fact that the design was cross sectional, may hinder the determination of causality of relationship in some instances.