James Godswill, Adolescents’ Sexual and Reproductive Health Challenges in Northern Nigeria: Road Map to Effective Interventions, ILSHS Volume 24, International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 24)
    Young people have been well documented as special need group in the area of reproductive health. Adolescent sexuality and reproductive health are important contemporary concerns especially for reproductive health problems such as early marriage, unintended/unwanted pregnancy, maternal mortality and sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. There are yet many unmet reproductive health needs for the African adolescents despite the many reproductive health programmes which have been initiated in the last decade. Hence, this study examines the challenges of adolescents‟ sexual and reproductive health in northern Nigeria. Primary data were obtained using qualitative methods. Thirty-six focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted among adolescents aged 15-19 years, stratified by sex, marital status, fertility status and residence; and 48 in-depth interviews (IDIs) with community-resident adolescents who have ever married or/and have begun childbearing. Results show that teenage marriage and childbearing is a highly cherished activity among adolescents in northwestern Nigeria, consequently their attitudes were largely pronatalist. Knowledge of contraceptive methods clearly exists but gender-biased, even though contraceptive approval and use was low. Sense of vulnerability and fear clearly exist as a number of participants expressed lack of courage to confront appropriate authorities, including their parents with reproductive health issues. Motivations for teenage marriage and childbearing reflect various levels of influence, such as parental pressure and social norms, individual needs, including socio-economic survival. There is need for intervention strategies to tackle issues relating to empowerment, and access to resources, improved information and services.
    Adolescent, Health Programme, Northern Nigeria, Reproductive Health, Sexuality