A study by the Department of Reproductive Health, University of Ibadan (UI), has revealed that over five million women in Nigeria commit abortions every year.
According to the study, 55 abortions are recorded yearly per 1,000 women in Nigeria, with half of the number comprising adolescents who indulge in unsafe sex that result in unplanned pregnancies.
LEADERSHIP reports that the above figure translates to 5.5 percent of the national female population.
With Nigeria’s population at about 198 million according current estimates by National Population Commission (NPC), and women traditionally making up about half of the figure, it means that more than five million abortions are carried out by women in the country every year.
Notably, carrying out an abortion (causing the death of an unborn child) is illegal in Nigeria except when prescribed by a qualified doctor for the purpose of saving the life of the mother or other foetuses.
Commenting on the development at a media round table organized by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) in Lagos, a behavioural management coach, Wemimo Adebiyi, said unsafe sex practices expose youths to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV with a prevalence of 25 percent among adolescents in the South Eastern part and 28 percent in the Northern part of the country.
Adebiyi noted that the lack of adequate information on the part of the adolescents about contraception has been found to be responsible for the unplanned pregnancy among adolescents, in most cases resulting in sunsafe abortions.
To avert the trend, Adebiyi said, “As adults, we really make a difference when we talk to young ones. In fact, teens often see it as the biggest influence in their decisions about sex and maturity when it comes to their sexuality. Teens who report having good information with an informed adult about sex are more likely to delay sexual activities, become faithful and committed partners.”
She said adults can have this conversation with teenagers, build strong relationships with them, and set clear expectations and boundaries for them.
According to her, these are proven ways adults can help prevent teen pregnancies, reduce teens’ chances of getting STIs, and help ensure that they lead healthy and rewarding lives.
On the right age parents should start the conversation, Adebiyi said it is best to start talking with children about sexuality early as they are curious about their bodies, whether boys or girls, as they enter different kinds of relationships from a very early age.