Customary and religious laws are impeding progress towards women’s health in Nigeria

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Numerous countries have committed themselves to promoting the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls by ratifying international human rights treaties. These include the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Nigeria ratified the convention on women’s rights in 1985 and the convention on child rights in 1991. But sexual and reproductive health among women and girls in Nigeria remains poor. The country has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world. And the women making up more than half of people living with HIV. It also has persistently high rates of maternal and perinatal mortality. In 2013, Nigeria accounted for about 14% of the global burden of maternal mortality. Nigeria has high rates of unsafe abortion (approximately 33 unsafe abortions per 1000 women of reproductive age). The country also has high levels of female genital cutting, and low levels of contraceptive use.

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