The National Population Commission (NPC) reported that occurrence of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria may soar to over 60 million by 2015.
At the 2013 World Population Day in Lokoja this weekend, the Federal Commissioner of the NPC in Kogi State, Mohammed Akubo Aikoye disclosed that according to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS), adolescent fertility rate in Nigeria in 2008 was 121 live births per 1,000 births, which was the highest rate in Africa.
He also disclosed that teenage pregnancy rates varied greatly between the northern and southern geo-political zones and rural areas: in the north, one in every three teenage girls, whereas in the south - one out of 10.
Talking about teenage girls between 15 and 19 years old, Mr Aikoye, urged the Federel Government to take measures at preventing teenage pregnancy.
Mr Aikoye pointed to teenage pregnancy health, social and economic implications, also stessing that this is the major cause of teenage girls death in the world. Among other dangers are pregnancy complications, unsafe abortion, poor ante-natal care, weak pelvic bones, high fertility rate, curtailment of education attainment, and unstable marital life. The numerous causes of the problems are poverty, sexual abuse, cultural and religious beliefs, as well as ignorance, Mr Aikoye explained.
Experts blame early marriage for adolescent pregnancies. According to the National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey, some 73 percent of girls between 13 to 19 years old are married in northeastern Nigeria. Moreover, married adolescents in the northeast and northwest constitute 42 percent of total married adolescents aged under 19, and they contribute 71 percent of annual births.
Facts and Figures Worldwide:
About 16 million girls under age 18 give birth each year globally.
An estimated 3.2 million of them undergo safe abortions and are exposed to complications in pregnancy.
Most are faced with complications as obstetric fistula, illness, injury and death.