Call For Increased Parental Guidance, Government Interventions To Check Menace And Support Victims
Nigerian governments and the masses of the country, especially parents, guardians and teachers have been called upon to aggressively tackle the alarming rate of teenage pregnancy in the country.
Some experts on teenage issues made the call today at a “teenage pregnancy awareness conference” organised by the Odusa Foundation at Ikorodu, Lagos.
They explained that the problem of teenage pregnancy should be urgently dealt with because of its devastating effects on the victims, their family members and the society at large. They also advocated the need to show victims of teenage pregnancy love and care in order to lessen their burden.
In a remark, the National President, Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED) Mr. Orji Kanu expressed displeasure over the unabated incidents of teenage pregnancy in the country, outlining the consequences on the girl child to include rejection, stress,depression, sicknesses and even death.
According to Mr. Kanu who was the Guest Lecturer, “Pregnant adolescents are at higher risk to get mental health problems such as depression, intense stress and pressure to become parents. They are faced with a lack of support from family and country that will lead to depression, making wrong decisions and abusive drugs.
“Because of the stigma of teenage pregnancy, it is high in our community, pregnant teen may deal with feelings of shame, guilt, anger, denial, and may lead to depression and low self esteem. Eventually, they will be afraid to seek help from friends, family or anyone about becoming pregnant.
On the impact of teenage pregnancy on the family, the AFED president stated that , ” when women teen pregnancy occurs, the entire family will be affected which lead to stress that will affect family relationships.
“The first predicament faced by the ten and her family is whether or not to continue with the pregnancy and have the baby. The teenager usually feel that she is not ready to take care of the baby and opted for abortion or may give it up for adoption. The problems will get coarse if it involve legal issue which may add to the pressure and stress that the teen and the family encountered”, Kanu noted.
On her part, a Family Life Coach, Mrs. Bolanle Aloba suggested that in order to tackle the issue of teenage pregnancy, efforts should be made to properly educate adolescents about their reproductive health, with a view to making them not to indulge in unprotected and pre-marital sex.
He said, “They are not yet developed in knowledge. They involve in premarital sex because they are still not knowledgeable. We can start asking this question, what are the causes? What made them indulge in premarital sex?
“Teenagers going into premarital sex, one thing that cause it is peer pressure; I want to see what they are outside; my friends are doing , let me also do. That’s why I tell even my children , that people are doing it does not mean you must do it too. That your your classmates are doing it does not mean you are qualified to do it.
“Peer pressure is a major factor and it is common within the age bracket 13 to 19 years. They always want to follow what their mates are doing. As a teenager, you should have a mind of your own”.
Mrs. Aloba further said that another major cause of teenage pregnancy is parental absence, advising that mothers and fathers should always be around to protect their children.
High point of the event was the presentation of a song by the foundation, which x-rays the consequences of teenage pregnancy and how to manage the problem in the society.
Other speakers at the event were Dr. Omolobjesus Ijaopo, a medical practitioner; David Adebanjo, healthcare personnel and public speaker; Babafemi Adebajo, Physiotherapist and Segun Odusanmi who is the CEO of the foundation.
Attended by students from some secondary schools within Ikorodu, the conference had the theme, “Say no to teenage pregnancy”