The situation

What UNICEF is doing


The situation

UNICEF Nigeria
© UNICEF Nigeria

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, with a population of 171 million, including 40 million children. It is also the continent’s largest economy and has achieved strong economic growth rates in recent years.

There have been some improvements in the situation of children and women in recent years, but a lot still remains to be done.

Over half the population live in poverty. There are major regional disparities, and 90 per cent of the poorest people live in the north of the country.

Nigeria regularly faces natural disasters - such as droughts, floods and epidemics - as well as violent conflict, including insurgency and communal clashes.

Maternal, child and infant mortality rates remain among the world’s highest. The main causes of infant and child deaths are pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria and neonatal causes.

There have been improvements in child nutrition, but malnutrition remains a major concern, particularly in northern Nigeria.

Tens of millions of people still lack access to clean water and proper sanitation, despite some progress.

Nigeria has the second highest HIV burden in the world. Coverage for services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) remains low, and paediatric infections account for almost one third of the global burden.

Routine immunization levels have increased. Nigeria is one of three countries - with Afghanistan and Pakistan - where wild polio transmission has never been interrupted despite major strides in battling the disease.

Primary school enrolment and attendance are improving, but there are wide disparities, with attendance lowest in the North, in rural areas and among the poorest.

Nigeria has 10.5 million out-of-school children - the world’s highest number. Girls’ primary school attendance has been improving, but this has not been the case for girls from the poorest households.





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