Nigeria Ranks Third Highest in Number of Child Brides, Says Group

Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

An international non-govern-–mental organisation, Plan International, has disclosed that data findings has revealed that Nigeria ranks third highest in number of child brides in the world.

Showing disapproval to the trend, which it said was a leading factor to obstetrics fistula and a catalysts to perpetuating generational poverty, the organisation reiterated that data is needed at all levels to aid in governance and implementation of laws and budget.

Director of programmes, quality and influencing of the group, Ms. Helen Isiong, stated this yesterday in Abuja at the commencement of the workshop to review the version 2019 national health management information systems tools in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and other partners.

According to him, “In Nigeria, we have the third highest number of child brides and for children that married early, issues of obstetrics fistula are likely to happen thereby perpetuating generational poverty.” 

“So these are things that we need data for to be able to tell the government that this is what happens when you marry off young children and when girls don’t have education.

“For us as Plan International Nigeria, ours is just to support because we understand the importance of data and adequate data capturing to the work that we do knowing that the only way we can make impact is if we have adequate data.

“You cannot speak to the government without having data to back it up. We have made a lot of progress but we can do better than we are currently. In some areas you look for data you may not actually find and in some you find.

“Who knows the impact of the 100 girls that are about to be married off in Niger State, what can we say about the state of the girls in a particular location in Nigeria? We don’t have those up to date data and for us that is something that is very important because harmful social norms hide when we don’t have enough data to back it up.”

The Head of planning, monitoring and evaluation at the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Adeola Jegede, also, said the aim of the meeting was to review and ensure that current tools that can help gather relevant data are used holistically to take decisions in the health sector.

Remarking that there is a current drive by the current government to ensure that there are improvements in health indicators, having tools that will gather the relevant data on identified indicators that are useful in the health sector have become sacrosanct.

“We need to ensure that Nigeria as a country has the relevant tools to gather the relevant data elements and indicators that can be used to report on interventions in the health sector.

“There is a lot of gains it gives and the opportunity to have real time data for the country,” he stated.

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