Adolescent health: FG concerned about high rate of teenage pregnancies and unsafe abortions
In commemoration of National and International Adolescent Health Week (IAHW) 2022, the federal government has raised concerns about the rate of teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and HIV prevalence among young people. The 2018 NDHS shows that 19% of adolescent girls are mothers and pregnant with their first child, 32% do not attend antenatal care (ANC), 66% give birth without supervision by skilled birth attendants, and young people have HIV prevalence. of 1.9 million which presents a strong disparity between the sexes. Health Minister Dr Osagie Ehanire who cited the 2018 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) while speaking to reporters on Monday in Abuja expressed concern that it could be further aggravated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ehanire, however, maintained that even though adolescents constitute 22%, a significant proportion of the Nigerian population, the government remains committed to ensuring access to quality health care for Nigerians, especially adolescents and young people. He said, “The National Adolescent Health and Development TWG has been repositioned and inaugurated for better performance with members drawn from relevant stakeholders, including youth-led organisations.
In addition, we have created a budget line at the national level for adolescents, developed a costed national work plan over two years and prioritized activities to be implemented in 2022. the capacities of workers are built and strengthened in collaboration with our partners World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, Lafiya Project to name a few. We advocate and make every effort to strengthen the effective coordination of the adolescent health program nationwide.
“I therefore urge all partners to replicate the same structure in their respective states to ensure the continued provision of essential gender-responsive services and to mitigate the barriers that adolescents and young people face in accessing services.
“To make progress on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Nigeria recognizes the need to keep adolescents at the center of all programs centered on their health and development, in line with the vision that ‘no adolescent or young person is left behind. The Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunnimbe Mamora, who said that around 12 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 and at least 777,000 girls under the age of 15 give birth every year in developing parts of the world, added that at least 10 million unintended pregnancies occur each year among adolescent girls aged 15-19 also in the developing world.
He further revealed that of the estimated 5.6 million abortions that occur each year among adolescent girls aged 15-19, 3.9 million were unsafe, contributing to maternal mortality, morbidity and lasting health problems “Adolescent mothers (aged 10-19) face higher risks of eclampsia, puerperal endometritis and systemic infections than women aged 20-24, and their babies face at higher risks of low birth weight, preterm delivery and serious neonatal conditions.