CONSULTANT obstetricians and gynaecologists have warned that Lagos State will experience an explosion of newborn babies in the next seven to eight months as a result of the recent lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Like every other nation, Nigeria introduced a lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, forcing members of the public to sit at home. Although Nigeria was spared the worst effects of the virus with just 15,682 cases and 407 fatalities, the country has suffered immensely from the economic effects of the lockdown as it has crippled the economy and led to a scarcity of food.
As Nigeria strives to get her economy on track with a radical package put together by vice president Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the country faces a renewed problem of a population explosion. Nigeria currently has a population of about 200m people and Lagos State with 22m is the most populous of its 36 states despite have the smallest landmass.
On average, Nigeria’s population rises by about 2.6% a year but her economy has only grown by about 2% annually over the last five years. With the latest development, fresh steps may be required to boost economic output.
Maternal and child expert Dr Akinde Joseph, who is the chairman of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, Lagos State chapter and Dr Modupe Adedeji, a consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, both warned of tough times ahead. They added that unless proactive steps are taken, there would also be more cases of mental health issues in the state due to hundreds of unwanted pregnancies.
Dr Joseph, said the lockdown has resulted in many unplanned pregnancies. He added that the nation must respond properly to a recent report on the impact of Covid-19 on maternal health and low patronage of family planning services by women.
Professor Oladapo Shittu, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, recently warned that the lockdown resulted in fewer client visits to hospitals for family planning services. He added that this poses concerns about reproductive health emergencies such as unplanned pregnancies for the women who could not access care.
He revealed a significant drop in client visit for family planning services at his hospital’s clinic from 150 in February to less than 50 at the end of May. Dr Joseph added that besides an increase in unintended pregnancies, the lockdown would further lead to increase in unsafe abortion and maternal death.
He said: “Though, we don’t have the collation of the number of clients who visited Lagos hospitals for family planning services between February and May, what we are observing generally is that women are afraid of coming to the hospital to access the services because of Covid-19. Women feel that once they come to the hospital to utilise services, they will be infected with Covid-19.
“They forgot that once they don’t use family planning and they are having regular sex, it will result in unplanned pregnancies.”