The President of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health, ARFH, Oladapo Ladipo, in Lagos on Sunday said teenage pregnancy could be reduced by increasing access to education and discouraging early marriages.
“Girl-child marriage and early pregnancy initiation need to be discouraged because the mortality is high in this group.
“The girl-child should be allowed to complete her secondary school education.
“Education of the children in this country should be free and compulsory to the secondary school level,’’ Mr. Ladipo said.
He said early pregnancy is often the cause of mortality among girls.
Mr. Ladipo said in Lagos that teenage pregnancy could predispose the girl-child to devastating reproductive health outcomes.
He also said that early marriage and early pregnancy were capable of exposing girls to devastating social, educational, economic and health challenges.
“Many of this girl-child getting pregnant have one major disadvantage of poor reproductive outcome.
“They are the ones that will suffer anaemia, pregnancy induced hypertension and obstructed labour.
“And if they do not die in the process, they are left with Vesico-Vagina Fistula (VVF) or Rectovagina Fistula. They will be draining urine continuously or faeces continuously from their lower genital tract.
“This is a tragedy that should never be allowed to happen,’’ he said.
Mr. Ladipo said that teenage pregnancy could be reduced by investing in child survival and health programmes as well as giving priority to free and qualitative education for all.
He called on government at all levels to place high priority on girl-child education to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies in the country.