The Role of Libraries in Curbing Teenage Pregnancy in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

Teenage Pregnancy is fast becoming a regular trend today in Nigeria. This is due to the fact that most parents still feel it is absurd to educate their children on sex education. As a result of this most teenagers learn about sex education through their peers, mass media, etc. Due to the low level of knowledge of these teenagers on sex education, the level of teenage pregnancy tends to be on the increase.

The library as an institution therefore has the responsibility to provide information contained in information materials of various format to the target group in order to curb the challenge of teenage pregnancy. The Federal Government, Nigerian Library Association and other stake holders need to collaborate to establish school libraries and public libraries where they are nonexistent and revitalize these libraries where they are existing but not functional. These libraries should also carry out their function thoroughly by collaborating with Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) to organize programs that will serve as a form of orientation to teenagers on teenage pregnancy and how it can be avoided.

Introduction

Education is widely recognized as the gateway to economic security and opportunity particularly for the girl child and this does not exclude Sex education. (Nwajiuba 2011). Wikipedia(2011) defines sex education as a "a broad term used to describe about human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, and other aspects of human sexual behavior. Adepoju (2005) averred that in recent times, the youth who constitute ages 10-24 years and 36.7 per cent of the Nigerian population, are found to be highly vulnerable to antisocial behaviors such as violent crimes, unsafe sexual activities and drug abuse among others. Most parents believe their children need basic information about sex and sexual self protection. Mkumbo and Ingham (2010) posited that provision of Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) in schools is crucial in protecting young people against sexual health problems, such as HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancy. Alo and Akinde (2010) in their article titled "Premarital Sexual Activities in an Urban Society of Southwest Nigeria" asserted that "Nigeria is a relatively culturally conservative countiy; the topic of sex is still considered a taboo between parents and children. A child learns through the mass media and peers unguided. Children learn the important topic of sex education in negative manners, rather than having proper sex socialization at home or in schools". This point was buttressed by Chukwudum and Gloria (2001) when they posited that "Parentchild communication in sexual matters was either non-existent or negative before maturity, which for girls is at age of menarche." Mothers are uncomfortable and think it is embarrassing imparting sex education to their daughters. They believe girls can get information through:

* Their friends and elder sisters

* Doctors, health personnel and teachers

They also feel sex education should be imparted to girls only after attaining menarche.

Teenage Pregnancy and Consequencies

Odu and Christian (2007) posited that "teenage parenthood is by no means a new phenomenon, women have tended to begin childbearing during their teens and early twenties" and according to them "physical and sexual maturity among adolescents is not accompanied by an ability to handle their sexuality in a responsible manner. And it's noted that young people, especially the veiy young are faced today with decision making beyond their experience".

Olaitan (2010) asserted that "the problem of unwanted pregnancy can be due to poverty and ignorance of the parents on sex education. It has also been found that the type of films teenagers watch has exposed them negatively. Some fall victim of unwanted pregnancy through peer pressure since most parents think it is embarrassing to teach or talk to their children about sex education and feel the children should learn from friends, classmates or elder sisters. …