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Conclusions and recommendations

p. 31-33

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1More than half of the population in developing countries including Nigeria are under the age of 16 years; people in this age group are or will become the parents of the next generation. In Nigeria, adolescence has traditionally been a brief interlude between puberty and marriage; adolescents are generally less susceptible to life threatening diseases than the very young or the very old. Hence, health problems specific to their age group have received little or no attention.

2Results from this study show that adolescents in Nigeria are becoming more involved in undesirable activities such as cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, drug abuse and pre-marital sex. As a result, teenagers are presenting with many sexually related diseases and problems associated with unhealthy activities. Teenage mothers are a social liability to national development and progress; the education of the young mother has to be stopped even temporarily; she may be forced into an early marriage, which may end her formal education completely; this may affect her earning capacity and her ability to cater for her child. Early pregnancy can also compromise the future reproductive capacity of a young woman.

3Most of the undesirable activities associated with adolescents can be linked directly to influence from their peers and changes in social behaviour resulting from urbanization, reduced family influence, increased rural to urban migration, increased exposure to the mass media, and lack of guidance and appropriate information, both at home and at school.

4This study shows that very little has been done or is being done to alleviate the various problems associated with adolescent reproductive health in Nigeria. The current efforts being made leave little room for contributions from the young people themselves, and so, the effects of such efforts have been minimal.

5In order to achieve an overall improvement in adolescent reproductive health in Nigeria, the following recommendations are advanced.

  1. Attempts should be made to improve the understanding of the adolescents, of the physical, psychological and social aspects of adolescent reproductive health.
  2. Key people with influence on adolescents as well as the adolescent themselves, should be trained in counselling and communication skills, so that they can disseminate necessary information and provide the necessary guidance to the vulnerable adolescents.
  3. Policies and programmes should be promoted which reflect the best ways to meet the reproductive health needs of adolescents.
  4. Ways should be found to provide alternatives to early child bearing by women, so as to allow them to be better educated and thus improve their status.
  5. Since peer group pressure and the mass media have been shown to have a strong influence on modifying the behaviour of the adolescents, these two factors should be considered useful tools in the dissemination of information and provision of guidance to the adolescents.

6There is an urgent need to put in place programmes that will target these students and provide them with access to information and services that will reduce the risks to which they are continuously exposed. Nigerian society places a premium on marriage and children-, a marriage without children often breaks down. Teenagers should be aware of the risks they are placing themselves in by engaging in casual sexual relationships which could compromise their future happiness as married adults.


Makinwa-Adebusoye, O. K. 1991. Adolescent reproductive health behaviour in Nigeria. A study of 5 cities. NISER Monograph series No. 3. 1991.

Ladepo, O. 1993. Current trends in social behaviour of girls. Paper presented at a seminar on Education of Girls and Current Trends in Social Behaviour. Food Basket Foundation International. December, 1993.

Odejide, A. O., J. U. Ohaeri, M. F. Adelekan, and B. A. Ikuesan. 1987. Drinking behaviour and social change among youths in Nigeria. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 20 (3): 227.

UNICEF. 1993. AIDS: The Second Decade. A focus on youth and women. UNICEF, NY.

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