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Concerns as health officers coerce underage girls for anti-pregnancy injections

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PHOTO: IDEO

The future of young girls is in jeopardy as some health officers under the aegis of 9ja Girls stormed general hospitals to coerce young girls to taking anti-pregnancy injections without the consent of their parents.

The Adolescents 360 programmes led by Population Services International (PSI), aims to increase the uptake of and perception of modern contraceptives and reduce unintended pregnancies among girls in Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.

The Guardian gathered that some officials under this platform paraded themselves as health officials and lobby around general hospitals to lure the unsuspected underage girls into taking the injection. Specifically, some of them were seeing at the State Hospital, Ota, Ogun State wearing mufti while sourcing for ‘patients’.

Investigation showed that scores of girls have fallen prey, while a particular one, Happiness Asuquo Sunday was accosted and made to take the anti-pregnancy injection, which she later regretted.

After taking the injection, the alleged officers also give appointment of the next visit for continuation of the vaccine.

Sunday, who narrated her ordeal to The Guardian, said: “I was passing by the road to Obasanjo Farm when one of the women came to me. She held my hand and asked me what is wrong with me. I told her that my aunty sent me out of the house. She now asked my why? I wanted to reply her, but she did not listen, she just wrote something on a paper for me to take inside the hospital.

“When I got inside the hospital, one woman attended to me and told me what they are doing in the hospital. I told them that I don’t want it, but she insisted that I needed to take the injection because boys can rape me someday and I will get pregnant. Who will be the father of the baby? I cannot answer, so, that makes me to take the injection on my laps and they asked me to come back” she narrated.

Sunday handed the appointment card to The Guardian, which read: “I will come back on 08/07/2019. My provider number is 080313509… the other side of the card is written: “My life is mine to make”.

When contacted, declined speaking to newsmen, claiming he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Meanwhile, some parents that spoke to The Guardian bemoaned such initiative, expressing fear that such a vaccine could jeopardise the chances of the girls to get pregnant in future.

Besides, they blamed the forum for coercing young girls who doesn’t know the implication of their actions to take such an important injection.

Mrs. Adunni Sofoluwe, a trader said: “I can never allow my daughter take such injection. It is evil to lure girls into the act. Why not enlighten them on ways to avoid being rapped? Why not teach them sex education? Why injection? This is too bad and the government must do something urgent about it.”

A Gynecologist, Adewale Oshodi, in a chat with The Guardian said: “it’s a very bad idea. What they are doing is very dangerous to the health of the children since they did not know their medical history. It is illegal. It suicidal. They are violating the human right. It is against the human law of nature. The government should intervene and stop such act immediately. Such an exercise could not be carried out against the knowledge of their parents or guardian.

He stressed that the act might be exposing the underage to the sexual way because they will have more confidence to perform sexual acts with the belief that the contraceptive would protect them against pregnancy,” he stated.

The scheme, on its website www.ideo.org indicated that: “9ja Girls was conceived, alongside young people and a consortium of partners including IDEO.org, to increase the uptake of modern contraceptives and reduce unintended pregnancies among girls in Nigeria”

“The Adolescents 360 programme, led by Population Services International (PSI), aims to increase the uptake of and perception of modern contraceptives and reduce unintended pregnancies among girls in Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.

“When a girl walks into a 9ja Girls (pronounced “Naija”) space, she feels emboldened. Inside, amidst affirming notes from girls, glittery walls, and caring health workers, she can learn a new trade, have an honest Q&A about her body and feelings, and even take up a contraceptive method—all of this discreetly and on her terms.

“Since its launch, 9ja Girls has opened 13 sites across 9 states, serving 12,438 girls with modern contraception from January through August 2018. By 2020, this projection will be upwards of 69k (60,000),” it stated.


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