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School closure: NPC raises alarm over likely spike in teen pregnancy

The National Population Commission (NPC) has said the continued closure of schools across Nigeria due to the coronavirus pandemic might lead to an increase in teen pregnancy, abortions, and early school dropouts.

Speaking at the 2020 World Population Day held Saturday in Abuja, the acting executive chairman of the NPC, Dr Tayo Oyetunji, said there had been noticeable increase in gender-based violence ranging from rape to physical and emotional assaults on girls.

“In the absence of schooling, more girls are likely to drop out of school and other consequences could include early marriage and high fertility, morbidity and maternal mortality, abortion and low self-esteem,” Dr Onyetunji said.

Recently, the Federal Government of Nigeria suspended the resumption of final year students in schools over fears of increased spread of COVID-19.

The event, with the theme: “Putting the Brakes on COVID-19: How to Safeguard the Health and Rights of Women and Girls Now,” was part of an international awareness campaign that is celebrated annually to beam global attention on the urgency and importance of population issues universally.

The NPC boss said the plight of girls and women had been worsened with limited access to health facilities due to lockdowns.

“COVID-19 did not make it easy for women to access and utilize reproductive health facilities, especially as the logistics of getting to health facilities were negatively impacted,” he said.

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