The Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, said this on Thursday while delivering a lecture at the Inspiration FM’s (92.3) Inaugural Lecture and Award Ceremony on Victoria Island.
Idris, who spoke on ‘Reproductive Health: Beyond Cultural Limitations and Concerns,’ said the statistics were based on the report of the National Demographic and Health Survey and the Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey.
“Nationally, the figures are about 51 per cent. This implies that in Lagos, one out of every four women would have been exposed to sex before 18 years, while the national average for Nigeria is one out of two women.
“With an average age of first birth at 20 years, about 22.5 per cent of pregnancies are by teenagers in Nigeria. More worrying, however, is that reports show that as of this year, about 40 per cent of women in the South-West have experienced physical violence since age 15. Sexual violence cannot be excluded from the statistics.
“In other words, in a nation where more than 60 per cent of its population are young people and significant numbers of these young people are exposed to sexual intercourse at an early age, either voluntarily or violently, a lot of problems emerge. Such problems are associated with sexually-transmitted infections, childhood pregnancy, trauma and its accompanying physical and mental health implications.
“This means that there must be access to knowledge about sexual health and systems that modify behaviour, as well as, access to services that prevent and manage them,” Idris added.
The Acting Director General, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Ademola Mogbojuri, who was represented by Mrs. Bolaji Abayomi, advised mothers to practise exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of giving birth.
Chairman on the occasion, Femi Gbadebo, said for proper reproductive health care, the issues of anti-natal, mother and child care, among others, must be addressed.
The Chairman of Amazing Inspiration Media, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, said the decision to hold the lecture was borne out of the need to contribute to the issue of healthy living among the people.
Represented by Mr. Soni Irabor at the event, Akingbola said the best approach to solving issues around reproductive health was creating a forum for people to break the silence on it for common solution.