The Lagos state government has identified poor access to knowledge about sexual health as one of the major reasons most women in the state have sex before the age of 18.
The state government also lamented that no fewer than 24.2 per cent of women in the state have their first sex as adolescents
The Commissioner for Health in the State, Dr Jide Idris, made the disclosure on Thursday while delivering a lecture at the Inspiration FM’s (92.3) Inaugural Lecture and Award Ceremony on Victoria Island.
The Commissioner spoke on “Reproductive Health: Beyond Cultural Limitations and Concerns,” where he noted that the statistics were based on the report of the National Demographic and Health Survey and the Multi-Indicator Cluster Survey.
He said, “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.”