Meeting Young Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs in Nigeria

Author(s)

Gilda Sedgh
, ,
Friday Okonofua
,
Collins Imarhiagbe
, and
Deirdre Wulf
The time is now. Will you stand up for reproductive health and rights?

Key Points

Key Points
  • Educational attainment of young women in Nigeria has increased in all parts of the country since 1990, but levels and trends vary widely across regions; by 2003, the proportion of women aged 15–19 having some secondary education ranged from 17% in the North West to 78% in the South East.
  • The proportion of young women living in urban areas has risen in all regions except the South West. n The prevalence of marriage among female adolescents declined in Nigeria, from 39% to 33%, between 1990 and 2003. As of the latter year, early marriage was far more common in the North East and North West regions (59–73%) than in the southern regions (3–10%).
  • Early childbearing is also declining but still common: In 2003, almost one in three women aged 20–24 had had a child by age 18. n Use of modern contraceptives among sexually active female adolescents has increased in most parts of the country but remains extremely low. Nationally, the proportion using modern methods doubled from 4% in 1990 to 8% in 2003. It is far higher in the South South and South West (26–39%) than in other regions.
  • Nearly one-third of sexually active women aged 15–24 had an unmet need for modern contraceptives in 2003. n Government policies and strategies promoting the sexual and reproductive health of young people in Nigeria have not been successfully carried out.
  • International, national and local nongovernmental organizations are implementing programs to promote the reproductive health of Nigerian youth. n Improving the sexual and reproductive health of young people will require coordination of disparate efforts; financial commitment on the part of the federal and state governments; and consideration of the varying religious, sociocultural, familial and educational circumstances of adolescents in Nigeria.

1 Federal Republic of Nigeria, Legal notice on
publication of the 2006 Census Report, Federal Republic
of Nigeria Official Gazette, 94(4), S.I. No. 5, 2007.
2 Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Population Division, United Nations, World Population
Prospects, 2006 Revision, New York: United Nations,
2007.
3 Otoide VO, Oronsaye F and Okonofua FE, Why
Nigerian adolescents seek abortion rather than
contraception: evidence from focus-group discussions,
International Family Planning Perspectives, 2001,
27(2):77–81.
4 Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
(UNAIDS), Nigeria: Country Situation Analysis, <http://
www.unaids.org/en/CountryResponses/Countries/
nigeria.asp>, accessed Feb. 4, 2008.
5 Oye-Adeniran BA et al., Sources of contraceptive
commodities for users in Nigeria, PLoS Medicine, 2005,
2(11):1145–1151, <http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/
picrender.fcgi?artid=1255759&blobtype=pdf>, accessed
Dec. 1, 2008.
6 Federal Office of Statistics, Nigeria, and Macro
International Inc., United States, Nigeria Demographic
and Health Survey 1990, Lagos, Nigeria: Federal Office
of Statistics, 1992.
7 National Population Commission (NPC), Federal
Republic of Nigeria and ORC Macro, Nigeria
Demographic and Health Survey 2003, Calverton, MD,
USA: NPC and ORC Macro, 2004.
8 Online Nigeria Daily News, Federal Capital Abuja,
Feb. 12, 2003, <http://www.onlinenigeria.com/links/
abujaadv.asp>, accessed Nov. 28, 2007.
9 Biddlecom AE et al., Protecting the Next Generation
in Sub-Saharan Africa: Learning from Adolescents to
Prevent HIV and Unintended Pregnancy, New York:
Guttmacher Institute, 2007.
10 Isiugo-Abanihe UC and Oyediran KA, Household
socioeconomic status and sexual behaviour among
Nigerian female youth, African Population Studies, 2004,
19(1):81–98.
11 Madise N, Zulu E and Ciera J, Is poverty a driver
for risky sexual behaviour? Evidence from national
surveys of adolescents in four African countries, African
Journal of Reproductive Health, 2007, 11(3):83–98.
12 Bankole A et al., Risk and Protection: Youth and
HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, New York: The Alan
Guttmacher Institute, 2004.

13 Rafalimanana H, Adolescent contraceptive use in
the world: levels, trends, factors associated and method
mix, paper presented at the annual meeting of the
Population Association of America, New York, Mar. 30,
2007.
14 Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria, National Policy
on the Health and Development of Adolescents and
Young People in Nigeria, Lagos, Nigeria: Federal Ministry
of Health, 2007.
15 Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria, National
Strategic Framework on the Health and Development of
Adolescents & Young People in Nigeria, Lagos, Nigeria:
Federal Ministry of Health, 2007.
16 Madunagu BE, Girls’ Power Initiative, Nigeria,
personal communication, Sept. 15, 2008.
17 World Health Organization (WHO), The World
Health Report, 2005: Make Every Mother and Child
Count, Geneva: WHO, 2005.

Topic

Geography