UNICEF commits $1 billion to address and prevent teenage pregnancy in Nigeria


UNICEF has committed one billion dollars to address the escalating issue of teenage pregnancy in Nigeria. The surge in the number of adolescents becoming mothers before the age of 18 has prompted the organization to advocate for swift and extensive intervention by the Nigerian government at various levels.

UNICEF emphasized its commitment to investing one billion dollars in Nigeria over the next five years to tackle this pressing health crisis. Eduardo Celades, the Chief of Health at UNICEF Nigeria, provided insights into the profound impact of the health crisis affecting the adolescent population in the country.

According to Eduardo Celades…

  • “One in 10 girls in Nigeria is projected to become a mother before the age of 18, with a disproportionate impact in the North Central and North-West regions, where 50 per cent of young girls, particularly in states like Bauchi and Gombe, are expected to have a child by the age of 18.”
  • “Half of adolescent girls are unlikely to complete secondary school, and a staggering 43 per cent are already married. Of these, a significant portion has partners older than them, impacting their decision-making autonomy.”
  • “Of these, a significant portion has partners older than them, impacting their decision-making autonomy.”
  • “This oversight has prompted a reevaluation, and UNICEF, along with the UN, has committed a $1bn investment in Nigeria over the next five years.”
  • “Additionally, addressing mental health concerns among the youth, affecting 10 per cent is a priority in our agenda.”

He also added that the crisis was beyond substance abuse but encompassed issues such as mental health, insecurity, malnutrition, and climate change.

The adolescent phase marks a pivotal period in the journey from childhood to adulthood, influencing the trajectory of individual life development.

The health choices and strategies embraced during this stage significantly impact the potential and contributions of each person to the overall development of the nation.

Annually, approximately 21 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 experience pregnancies, with a staggering 95% prevalence of teenage pregnancies observed in low- and middle-income countries.

In Nigeria, teenage pregnancies are more prevalent among women with a lower socioeconomic status. As reported by the National Population Commission, 23% of girls aged 15 to 19 have initiated the process of becoming mothers.