COVID-19: Ogun raises the alarm over teenage pregnancy among school girls

The Ogun state government has expressed worry over the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy among school girls as a result of school closure, following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, who disclosed this in an interview with Blueprint in Abeokuta, the state capital, Wednesday, urged parents to encourage their children to visit the teenage units of primary health centres in the state for counselling and advice from health professionals.

Coker also expressed concerns about the increasing rate of rape and other gender based violence during the period of school closure and advised parents to introduce family planning to their teenagers who are already sexually active.

Although, Coker said, introducing family planning to teenagers may be a difficult task because of religious and cultural inclinations, family planning is not only safe but the best solution to unwanted pregnancy, abortion and maternal mortality.

She said, “It is absolutely good to introduce family planning to our teenagers and teenage mothers who are already sexually active.” 

“I would like to encourage both the young, even the women of marriageable age, married women and religious leaders, that family planning is safe. It is good for us, it actually positions us in a better socio-economic cadre worldwide and we need to embrace it in order to reduce the maternal mortality in our society and to give our children the best opportunity in life.”

Coker insisted that parents must also introduce sex education to their children to prevent unwanted pregnancy, reduce maternal mortality and sexually transmitted diseases.

She said, “I have been very worried about the COVID-19 period because young individuals are out of school, they are not engaged positively, so they may end up turning to sex as recreation and that might lead to teenage pregnancies and loss of school years and life opportunities and even the risk of ending up dying from septic abortions.”

“We are going to be very vigilant, looking out for teenagers and probably dedicate a particular team in collaboration with the women affairs ministry, we can work that out and drive a campaign focusing on the teenagers.” 

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