One of the world’s fastest-growing countries, with a young population and a high birth rate, Nigeria is projected to double its population in the next two decades.
The Government, with support from UNFPA, is directing resources to address the challenges resulting from high rates of teen pregnancy and low access to sexual and reproductive health services.
Investing in young people’s ability to access sexual and reproductive health care gives teens more choices around family planning.
In Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, the UNFPA-supported Young Mums’ Clinic provides holistic support to young pregnant women.
The clinic offers free services including antenatal care, baby care supplies, counseling on family planning and psychosocial support. It also connects young mothers with education and training opportunities to help them secure employment, as most pregnant teens do not return to the classroom.
With four locations in the city, the Young Mums’ Clinic has transformed the lives of hundreds of women and their children.
Among them is Kehinde Odususi, now 19 years old and mother to a healthy two-year-old daughter. Kehinde became pregnant as a result of sexual abuse when she was far from home in 2020.
Her family helped her get through that difficult time. “My parents are a very important part of my life,” says Kehinde. “When I was pregnant, they never left me once.” Her twin sister has been a steady support as well: “Whenever I am sad or moody, she will always find ways to make me happy. She is my smile buddy.”
While rich in emotional support, Kehinde still lacked the resources to get prenatal care and counseling.
When a Young Mums’ Clinic opened near her soon after the start of her pregnancy, her family encouraged Kehinde to go. And when her daughter was diagnosed with jaundice at birth, she was treated successfully within days, at no cost to Kehinde.
“The Young Mums’ Clinic was really a safe space for me throughout my pregnancy period,” Kehinde recalls. She not only got free medical care and counseling, but also met other girls like herself – and regained her self-confidence. The support she’s received has also gone full-circle, as Kehinde uses what she’s learned to provide peer support to other teens.
As she raises her happy, healthy child, Kehinde is planning the next steps in her life. She supports teaching in primary classes, and aims to go back to school to finish her own education.“I wish to be a psychologist. I want to help people understand themselves,” she says.
“My first fruit, my daughter … has been my strength in all that I do. Whenever I feel down, her smile will always brighten up my day.” – Kehinde Odususi
Happiness Eboh, 20, faced similar challenges when she became pregnant at 16, with her child’s father unwilling to support her.
Fortunately, she had her family – and her local Young Mums’ Clinic. There, she learned about family planning, and decided on a contraceptive method that would suit her – and, like Kehinde, went on to share her newfound knowledge.
Happiness’s advocacy work won her a position as a youth coach and mentor on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Meanwhile, the technical training she received at the Young Mums’ Clinic helped her set up her own home-service hairstyling business.
Happiness is now independent and able to take care of herself and her baby, while generating savings to scale her business in the future.
“My daughter is my priority,” she says. “I am happy when she is happy.”