Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health in Nigeria: An Appraisal of the Situation
Keywords:Adolescent, Reproductive Health, Sexual Health
Background: Nigeria has over 30 million persons aged between 10-19 years and almost one third of Nigeria's total population is between the ages of 10-24 years. The Nigerian government has ratified several regional and international instruments and conventions to promote ASRH. In spite of these policies and strategies, adolescent sexual and reproductive health challenges remain a critical issue in Nigeria.
Methods: A literature review of relevant published articles and policy documents on ASRH in Nigeria from 1996 to 2016 using both manual and electronic search of relevant databases.
Results: Early sexual debut, occurring in 18% of males and 22% of female Nigerian adolescents, is more prevalent among adolescents in Southern Nigeria (24.3% males and 28.7% females) compared to those in the North (12.1% of males and 13.1% females). Transactional sex is frequently reported among adolescents. Adolescents and young persons in Nigeria are susceptible to sexual coercion and violence. Forced marriage of female adolescent is prevalent in Nigeria; nearly one quarter (23%) of adolescent girls aged 15 19 years are already mothers or pregnant with their first child. Only 6.1% of all individuals aged 15 19 years are using any form of contraception. Nigerian adolescent girls make up over 30% of women treated for complications from unsafe abortion. Maternal mortality resulting from complications of pregnancy and delivery among adolescents accounted for about 15% of all maternal deaths.
Conclusion: Despite constituting a substantial number of the Nigerian population, key ASRH indicators among Nigerian adolescents remain poor. This is despite the existence of enabling legislation for enforcement and Federal Government Policy documents. There is a need to develop the political will at all level of Governance and to adapt local contextual realities in implementing interventions to promote ASRH
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