Contexts and persistence of age of consent for accessing family planning services in Lagos, Nigeria: A qualitative study

Onipede Wusu

Abstract

Nigeria has one of the lowest adolescents family planning uptake in sub-Saharan Africa. Previous studies show that a high age of consent is a significant predictor. Little evidence exists about the contexts and persistence of the high age of consent for accessing family planning in Nigeria. Hence, this study used a qualitative methodology to explore the contexts, persistence and implications of high age of consent for accessing family planning in Lagos State. Forty-four in-depth interviews and 31 key-informant interviews were conducted in two Local Government Areas. NVIVO 12 plus was used to analyse data. The results suggest that contexts consisted of health and moral concerns, religious opposition and negative attitudes, which were underlying the persistence of high age of consent for accessing family planning. The contexts formed the basis for the exclusion of adolescents from family planning services. Consequently, sexually active adolescents adopted local herbs, a combination of different medicines, concoctions and local alcoholic drink (ogogoro) to prevent or abort pregnancies. Therefore, community-based NGOs should engage communities to promote perception change about adolescents accessing family planning and motivate the communities to begin to demand of their representatives in government a policy to lower age of consent for accessing family planning. (Afr J Reprod Health 2020; 24[3]: 135-145).

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