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UNICEF pledges $1 billion to combat teenage pregnancy in Nigeria

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has pledged a billion dollars to combat teenage pregnancy in Nigeria.

This is due to the prevailing increase in the number of adolescent children becoming mothers before the age of 18 years.

The organisation called for an immediate and comprehensive intervention by the Nigerian government at all levels, noting it has committed a billion dollars in investment in Nigeria over the next five years.

The Chief of Health at UNICEF Nigeria, Eduardo Celades, elaborated on the massive health crisis affecting the adolescent population in Nigeria.

What He Said

  • “One in 10 girls in Nigeria is projected to become a mother before the age of 18, with a disproportionate impact in the North Central and North-West regions, where 50 per cent of young girls, particularly in states like Bauchi and Gombe, are expected to have a child by the age of 18.”
  • “Half of adolescent girls are unlikely to complete secondary school, and a staggering 43 per cent are already married. Of these, a significant portion has partners older than them, impacting their decision-making autonomy.”
  • “Of these, a significant portion has partners older than them, impacting their decision-making autonomy.”
  • “This oversight has prompted a reevaluation, and UNICEF, along with the UN, has committed a $1bn investment in Nigeria over the next five years.”
  • “Additionally, addressing mental health concerns among the youth, affecting 10 per cent is a priority in our agenda.”

He also added that the crisis was beyond substance abuse but encompassed issues such as mental health, insecurity, malnutrition, and climate change.

What you should know

The adolescent period is a critical period of life development during which each individual navigates the complex path from childhood to adulthood.

The health and approaches adopted during this time shape the potential and contributions of each individual to national development.

About 21 million girls aged 15-19 years get pregnant annually and the prevalence of teenage pregnancies is 95% in low- and middle-income countries.

In Nigeria, teenage pregnancies are more common among low socioeconomic status women. According to the National Population Commission, 23% of girls aged 15-19 years have started bearing children.



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