Sunday, 14 July 2019

Poor Awareness, Barrier To Young Women’s Access To Family Planning


Chioma Umeha

Awareness and proper understanding about family planning has been recognised to reduce maternal death among young women of reproductive age between 15 and 49.
Data on Sexual Reproductive Health outcomes in Nigeria highlights the importance of focusing on adolescents. At 576 maternal dea
th per 1,000 live births, Nigeria accounts for 14 percent of the global burden of maternal mortality (NDHS 2013/WHO 2014).
Global evidence shows that young girls bear a higher burden of maternal mortality and morbidity. Data shows that the average age at sexual debut is roughly 15 years of age among adolescent mothers in Nigeria. (NDHS 2003, 2008, 2013).
The National adolescent fertility rate in Nigeria is 122 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 years. In the North Western States, it is as high as 171 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 years.
To stem this, the government of Lagos State with support from partners and other donor agencies has put in place youth friendly health care centres and trained health care providers to provide youth friendly services.
But despite the friendly centers, there are gaps that limits youth access to SRH in Nigeria which is inclusive of poor knowledge, awareness, lack of confidentiality in service delivery amongst others.
Most young persons who are sexually active in Lagos State are not armed with adequate information on the different method of contraception available for use due to some barriers.
These barriers includes: provider bias, attitude of the family planning officer, religious sentiments amongst others.
At a 3-day capacity building workshop on Investigative Journalism organized by Pathfinder International Nigeria, in Lagos, some Lagos based adolescents who spoke to journalists have expressed dismay over the attitude of some family planning providers.
Some adolescents who visited Ikotun, Alimosho and Agege youth friendly Centres complained of poor counseling, knowledge by the family planning counsellors.
According to 25-year old Halima Abdullazeez and graduate of Business Admin said the service provider’s first question was on her age bracket adding that “on learning I have three boy-friends at 25, the body language changed outside religious concerns and countenance, i was not given an opportunity of seeing a condom or counselled properly on other options of contraception, so, i had to leave.



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