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22.5% of pregnancies in Nigeria are by teenagers, says Lagos commissioner

Lagos Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris

Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris has revealed that about 22.5 percent of pregnancies in the country are by teenagers.

Idris made the disclosure while delivering a lecture at the first Lecture and Award Series, 2017 of the Inspiration 92.3fm held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Speaking on “Reproductive Health: Beyond Cultural Limitations and Concerns,” Idris stated that with an average age at first birth at 20 years, about 22.5 percent of pregnancies are by teenagers in Nigeria.

He stated that according to the National Demographic and Health Survey and the Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey 24.2 percent of women in Lagos and 51 per cent had their first sexual intercourse before attaining the age of 18 years.

“This implies that in Lagos, one out of every four women would have been exposed to sex before 18 and the national average for Nigeria is one of two women. The difference in these figures might be attributed to several factors, such as female education, urbanization, childhood marriages and so more.

“More worrying, however, is that reports show that as at this year, about 40 percent of women in the Southwest have experienced physical violence since age 15 and sexual violence cannot be excluded from these statistics,” he stated.

He however warned that where more than 60 percent of the nation’s population are young people and significant numbers of them are exposed to sexual intercourse at an early age either voluntarily or violently, a lot of potential problems would emerged. According to him, such problems are associated with sexually transmitted infections, childhood pregnancy, trauma and its accompanying physical and mental health implications.

“This means that there must be access to knowledge about sexual health and systems that modify behaviours, as well as, access to services that prevent and manage them, Idris said.

While calling for improvement in reproductive health in the country, Idris said there must be education, increased investment in health, good governance, social and economic empowerment of women, strengthening health services, development of rights based code of ethics and domestication of international conventions.

At the event, Chairman, Amazing Inspiration Media, Mr. Erastus Akingbola said the decision to hold the lecture was borne out of the need to contribute to the issue of healthy living among the people. Akingbola who was represented by Mr. Soni Irabor, ‎said the best approach to solving issues around Reproductive health is when there is a forum for people to break the silence on it for common solution.

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