FEDERAL government yesterday, disclosed that 66 per cent of Nigerian children in rural areas could neither read nor write.
Minister of Heath, Dr Osagie Ehanire, who was represented by Director of Family Health, Salma Anas-Kolo, stated this during the closing ceremony of a two-day stakeholders’ consultation towards ministerial commitment for educated, healthy and thriving adolescents and young people in West and Central Africa.
The event was organised by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and UNFPA in collaboration with other UN agencies, Ministries of Health, Education, Network of Young People and Civil Society Organisations.
He also said that while Nigeria had a higher burden of adolescent pregnancy and child bearing, 19 per cent of teenagers (of 15-19years) were already mothers or pregnant with their first child.
Quoting National Demographic Health Survey, the government said that pregnant adolescent girls had poor health seeking behaviour, while about 32 per cent of teenage women less than 20 years did not receive ante-natal care.
According to him, Nigeria has the highest number of persons with HIV in the world with an estimated 1.9 million people living with HIV/AIDS.
. “In Nigeria, the possibility of a child born and achieving its full professional and economic potentials is low; the Human Capital Index put this at 36 per cent. This is lower than the average in sub-Saharan region and low and middle income countries.
The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan notes that Nigeria ranks 137 out of 140 in infant mortality rate, 10 million children are out of school, 66 per cent children in rural areas cannot read or write, and 17.6 million youth are unemployed,” Ehanire said.