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1.1 Background of the Study
Adolescent childbearing remains a challenge requiring urgent resolution worldwide (UNPFA, 2013). The 2014 World Health Statistics reported 16 million births to mothers aged 15–19 years representing 11% of all births that were due to women aged 15-19 years. The average global birth rate among 15 to 19 year olds is 49 per 1000 girls. Country rates range from 1 to 299 births per 1000 girls with the highest rates in sub-Saharan Africa (WHO, 2014). Studies of adolescent childbearing in developed countries showed differences in levels, as well as wide variation in trends, the adolescent birth rate in the United States was among the highest; it was lowest in Japan and was quite low in several European countries the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Compared with other developed countries, the United States had an especially high birth rate for adolescents under 18 years old (Westoff, Calot & Foster, 1985). In developed countries, adolescent fertility rates range from 4.6 in Japan to 30.1 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and 48.7 in the United States of America (UN, 2002).
Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence rate of adolescence pregnancies in the world (WHO, 2014). Approximately 95% of adolescence pregnancies occur in developing countries with 36.4 million women becoming mothers before age 18 (UNPFA, 2013). Births to teenage mothers account for more than half of all the births in this region, with an estimated 101 births per 1000 women aged 15 to 19 (UNPFA, 2013). The majority of countries with adolescent pregnancy levels above 30% occur in sub-Saharan Africa (Loaiza & Liang, 2013). More than half the women in sub-Saharan Africa and about one third in Latin America and the Caribbean give birth before the age of 20 (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1998). The regional average rate of births, per 1000 women aged 15–19 years, is 115 in Africa, 75 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 39 in Asia, compared to the world average adolescent fertility rate of 54 births per 1000 women aged 15 – 19 years (UN, 2002). The World Population Report on adolescent fertility shows that the number of births to adolescent in this region is projected to increase over the next few decades, exceeding a total of 4.8 million births to girls age 15-19 over the period 1995 to2020. In part, this increase reflects a growth in the size of the cohort of teens in this region relative to levels in other parts of developing world (McDevitt, 1996). The proportional contribution of adolescents’ fertility (among women age15-19) to the overall fertility rate among women age15-49 has been increasing over time. Though there has been observed decline by 27 percent in the birth rate among women age 15-19 between 1980 and 2003, 46 percent of women nationally and about 70 percent of those in some geo-political zones still give birth before their 20th birthday (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 2004). The recently published 2008 NDHS shows that 23 percent of women age 15-19 in Nigeria and 45 percent in North-Western zone are currently mothers or pregnant (NPC & ICF Macro, 2009). Over 50 percent of all teenagers in Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, and Zamfara are either mother so expecting their first babies (NPC, 2002). The prevalence of adolescent childbearing in Northern Nigeria is as high as 52 percent in the North East, 46 percent in the North West, and 23 percent in the North Central. A large proportion of births to young mothers occur within marriage and early marriage further contributes to early child bearing (Barker & Rich, 1992). The contribution of adolescents to overall fertility in the North East and North West regions of the country is about three times as high as that of their counter parts in the South East and four times that of those in the South West (NPC, 2002).
The World Health Organization (WHO) (2011) defines adolescents as those people between 10 and 19 years of age. WHO identifies adolescence as the period in human growth and development that occurs after childhood and before adulthood. Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2015) defines childbearing as relating to the process of conceiving, being pregnant with, and giving birth to children by women of childbearing age. Adolescent pregnancy or childbearing is formally defined as a pregnancy in a young woman who has not reached her 20th birthday when the pregnancy ends, regardless of whether the woman is married or is legally an adult.
Adolescent pregnancy and childbearing is associated with diverse problems. It remains a major contributor to maternal and child mortality, and to the cycle of ill-health and poverty. It entails a high risk of maternal death for the adolescent, and the children of young mothers have higher levels of morbidity and mortality (UN, 2002). These adolescents and their children may experience repercussions in the present, as well as far into the future. Pregnancy and childbearing may cut short an adolescent’s education and threaten her economic prospects, employment opportunities and overall well-being. Adolescent mothers may pass on to their children a legacy of poor health, substandard education and subsistence living, creating a cycle of poverty that is hard to break (UN, 1998). Adolescent girls face considerable health risks during pregnancy and childbirth, accounting for 15% of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) for maternal conditions and 13% of all maternal deaths. Adolescents aged 15–19 years are twice as likely to die in childbirth and those under 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their twenties (UNICEF, 2001b). Infant and child mortality is also higher among children born to adolescent mothers (US Census Bureau, 1996). Therefore, government and non-governmental organizations have attempted to address this via policies and other initiatives. Despite huge investments and refinement of these policies: Adolescents’ childbearing continues to reach crisis proportions in most African countries (UNFPA, 2010). It is against this backdrop that this study analysis the socio-economic consequences of childbearing among unmarried female adolescents in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Childbearing in early adolescence is considered socially problematic in most cultures (Luker, 1996). The World Health Organization (2014) reported that Africa have the highest prevalence of unmarried adolescence child bearing in the world. Baker and Rich (1992) indicated that the prevalence of adolescent child bearing in the North Western part of Nigeria constitute about 46 percent of the total childbearing. This shows that there is the need to find out the prevalence in the stated area of study, especially among unmarried female adolescents.
Child bearing among unmarried female adolescents is attributed to many reasons. Ankomah, Mamman & Omoregie (2011); Fatusi & Blum (2008) attributed the causes to early initiation in sexual activity, economic insecurity, deterioration in the traditional African values; low and ineffective use of contraception among others. It is important to find out whether these causes, among others are responsible for childbearing among unmarried adolescents female in Kaduna North Local Government Area Kaduna State. Child bearing among adolescents has a lot of socio-economic implications. Chalem et al. (2007) noted that it has maternal implications and also affect infants leading to still birth and death. Doğan & Carrión (2007) commented that it increases population rate, lengthens the reproductive period and consequently increases fertility rate. The united Nation Organization (1989); Aina and Odebiyi (1998) added that it leads to child abandonment, prostitutes, early breakdown of marriages and transmission of poverty among others. There is the likelihood that a great proportion of unmarried female adolescents who give birth suffer these consequences. Following the prevalence, cause and effects of childbearing among adolescents, it is important to study the incidence as related to unmarried adolescent female in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State. This study therefore analysis the socio-economic consequences of child bearing among unmarried female adolescents in the study area.
1.3 Research Questions In view of the foregoing problem, this research intends to address the following questions:
1. What is the nature of childbearing among unmarried female adolescents in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State?
2. What are the causes of childbearing among unmarried female adolescents in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State?
3. What are the socio-economic consequences of childbearing among unmarried female adolescents in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State?
1.4 The Objective of the Study The general objective of the study is to analyze the socio-economic consequences of child bearing among unmarried female adolescents in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State. In order to achieve the broad objective, the specific research objectives are as follows;
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