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Nigeria's Population Growth Adversely Affecting Quality of Life -Ehanire

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The Federal Ministry of Health has warned against Nigeria's rapid population growth which it says affects national planning and hinders economic growth.

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire voiced this at an event to launch the 2022 State of the World Population (SWOP) report Tuesday at the Press Centre of Radio House, Abuja.

The minister said Nigeria's population is 214 million due to the high rate of population growth. 

"The Federal Ministry of Health welcomes all efforts aimed at improving the health and well-being of Nigerians, especially women, girls, and children.

"In this wise, we are delighted to join this launch event entitled “Seeing the Unseen: The Case for Action in the Neglected Crisis of Unintended Pregnancy. 

"Nigeria’s population is currently projected at about 214 million persons made due to a high population growth rate of 3.2% and a high total fertility rate of 5.3 children per woman.  

"The rapid population growth has an adverse effect on the quality of life and hinders the achievement of socio-economic development goals of the country," he said.

19% of Married Women Lack Access to Contraceptives

Dr. Ehanire lamented some contributing factors of rapid population growth, including the non-use of contraceptives and poor family planning, thereby leading to unwanted/unintended pregnancies

Ehanire 2 cropped 

"This is further compounded by unfavourable family planning indices which measure the unmet need for contraception among married women at about 19% and as high as 48% among unmarried sexually active women.

"The modern contraceptive prevalence rate stands at a low of 12% of currently married women.

"Given the poor family planning indices, it is not surprising that the prevalence of Unintended Pregnancies is very high. According to the 2018 NDHS Report, 3% and 8% of pregnancies in Nigeria were unwanted and mistimed respectively, attributable to non-use, inconsistent use, or incorrect use of effective family planning methods.

"Unintended pregnancies induce serious consequences such as abortion, although illegal in Nigeria, which is often unsafe; as well as mental illness, malnutrition, vesicovaginal fistula, and maternal death, to name a few."

While thanking the National Population Commission (NPC) and the United Nations Population Fund for the event, Dr. Ehanire said the Federal Government of Nigeria recognised the impact of unintended pregnancies on the country's population and efforts were being made to proffer solutions to end the trend to achieve quality population management. 

19% of Teenagers Aged 15 - 19 Have Been Pregnant -National Population Commission

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Chairman of the NPC, Nasir Isa Kwarra, highlighted the demographics of the SWOP report and some challenges women and girls face.

They include the lack of access to health care services, information, and counselling that could enhance their ability to make informed positive decisions. 

Kwarra Cropped

"The central reflection of the report shows that almost a quarter of all women across the globe are unable to say no to sex and equally unable to make decisions about their own health care.

"Also, the recent World Health Organization (WHO) report (March 2022) shows that sub-Saharan Africa has a range of 49 to 145 women per 1,000 unintended pregnancies, being the highest globally.

"Most often, women and girls find themselves in situations that inhibit them from exercising their fundamental rights and having opportunities to make decisions on issues that affect their reproductive lives.

"These inhibitions have consequences on their health, well-being, dreams, income/earnings, job security, aspirations, educational attainment/achievements, disposition and potentials in life.

"Nigeria women and girls represent almost half of our entire population and out of which half of them are in their reproductive years (age 15-49 years); those age 10 -14 years, representing 12 percent and 14 percent are adolescents.

"These population groups constitute the groups of interest in this year’s SWOP report. In addition, 19 percent of teenagers aged 15-19 years have given birth or are pregnant with their first child, which shows a decline from 28 percent prevalence in 1990.

"However, 27% of teenagers in rural areas are likely to commence childbearing compared to percent in the urban centres," he said.


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