‘Govt needs to eliminate barriers to accessing contraception by adolescents’
Access and use of effective contraception provides both health and social benefits as it reduces unintended pregnancies and abortions.
This is according to the New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS), as it joined the world in commemorating the World Contraceptive Day.
The non-governmental organisation said contraceptive use is of importance to adolescents, especially female adolescents.
It said female adolescents were at risk of having unintended pregnancies and unwanted births which could lead to non-psychotic major depression (postpartum depression), feelings of powerlessness, and a reduction in overall physical health.
For adolescents who have unintended pregnancies, school drop-out and complications of illegally induced abortion are some of the complications reported with dare consequences. Pregnant adolescents also have greater risks than adults for sexually transmitted infections, especially HIV-1 infection.
According to the co-ordinator Prof Morenike Ukpong access of sexually active adolescents to contraception can make a difference.
Nigeria has the highest rates of adolescent fertility in sub-Saharan Africa.
Over 900 000 births to adolescents occur annually and 150 out of every 1000 women who give birth in Nigeria are 19 years old or under.
She explained: “Sadly in Nigeria, contraception access and its promotion is limited to married women. Its association with family planning makes the public, community and health care providers thing of contraception for use only among couples who are thinking of spacing children.
"While there are clear guidelines and programmes that promote access of women to contraception, there are conflicting guidelines on access and programmes for sexually active adolescents to contraception.
“Family planning centres also have limited competency to education and support adolescents’ use of contraception. Finally, the concept of parental consent prior to sexually active adolescents’ access to contraception creates a barrier to access of adolescent to education and uptake of contraception services.”
Read more at http://thenationonlineng.net/govt-needs-eliminate-barriers-accessing-con...