by Solomon Osadolo
On Monday in Abuja, the National Population Commission (NPC) released its 2008 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS).
The findings of the survey revealed that of the 36 states in the federation, Katsina State has the highest incidences of teenage pregnancy with 65 per cent of all cases, while Edo has the lowest teenage pregnancy rate at 2.9 per cent.
The survey also found that for every 1,000 live births in the country, 121 were adolescents. In contrast, countries like Algeria has 7 live births per 1,000; while South Africa and Ghana have 58 and 63 live births per 1,000 respectively.
Presenting the figures at a briefing to mark the 2013 World Population Day, the chairman of the NPC, Chief Festus Odimegwu, said that Nigeria had a high teenage mortality rate of o.822 per 1,000, a situation which is exacerbated by unsafe abortions, pregnancy complications, poor ante natal care and weak pelvic bones.
He also said that teenage births usually leads to curtailment of educational attainment and likely unstable marital life for the mothers.
The reasons cited by the commission for the increasing incidences of teenage pregnancy include poverty, sexual abuse, ignorance, as well as cultural and religious beliefs.
Odimegwu, who was represented by the Chairman of the Technical Management Team of the commission, Dr. Festus Uzor, appealed for efforts from all stakeholders to curb the rising trend and pledged the commitment of the NPC to effectively implement the national population policy.
Also speaking during the event, the Deputy Country Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr. Osaretin Adorin, in a goodwill message, said issues of teenage pregnancy should in addition to being considered a health issue, also be looked at as a human rights issue because “their bodies are not even matured enough, so both the mother and child suffer. It is sometimes a case of a baby becoming a mother.”