Sexual and reproductive health and rights in Nigeria

Event cover picture Sexual and reproductive health and rights in Nigeria

A conversation with UNFPA Representative in Nigeria, Ulla Elisabeth Mueller


  • 15.15 Welcome by the Director of University of Copenhagen’s School of Global Health, Flemming Konradsen.
  • 15.20 Case 1: Family planning - unmet need for contraception
  • 15.40 Case 2: Child Birth - maternal health
  • 16.00 Sexual and reproductive health and rights in Nigeria by Ulla Elisabeth Mueller.
  • 16.20 Q&A
  • 16.35 Drinks and networking.

Both cases are Presented by MD Serena Sesh Seshie (RESPEKT, Kenya) and moderated by PhD and MD, Monica Lauridsen Kujabi (UCPH, Denmark).

Picture of Ulla Elisabeth Mueller

Ulla Elisabeth Mueller is a women’s and girl’s rights advocate and a thought leader in human rights, poverty alleviation, and women’s sexual and reproductive health.

She holds E. Ma. Human Rights and Democracy (Lund University), and a M.Sc. Economics and Business Administration, (Copenhagen Business School).

Ms Mueller has served as Senior Adviser, FP/SRHR, GBV and Humanitarian Resilience at UNFPA Ethiopia; Associate Partner, Nordic Consulting Group; President and CEO, Engender Health; Regional Director, Marie Stopes International Southern Africa; Regional Representative, DR Congo, Dan Church Aid; Senior Adviser, Danida, and in several other positions.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights challenges

What does a community do when a woman is heavily hemorrhaging after a complicated birth if their village is six hours away from the nearest health clinic?

What does a woman do when going into labor uncertain whether the nearest health clinic is open, whether a skilled midwife is there and whether she can be referred to emergency services should complications arise.

How does a fourteen-year-old girl – who may already be married - get access to modern contraception and relevant counselling on method choice?

How can a woman come to accept contraceptive use again, if she has discontinued use due to unwanted side effects?

These are just a few examples of the real-life situations that girls and women find themselves in every day in poor countries among rural populations. Major challenges remain in ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health services and too often health interventions focus on the population as a homogeneous group. This means that the most vulnerable are too often excluded and underserved.

Join and participate

The seminar is open to the public. You will be invited to join the discussion and share your ideas on how to solve the sexual and reproductive health and rights challenges we will present at the seminar. 

Please register here.

After the seminar everyone is welcome to stay for drinks and networking.

The event is in English and the venue is wheelchair accessible.

Map of NigeriaNigeria

Nigeria’s population is 211 million people and is expected to nearly double by 2050 overtaking the United States as the third most populous country in the world.

43% of girls are married before the age of 18, early pregnancies are prevalent, and women have more than five children each on average. Around 8 million women have an unmet need for family planning which means that more than 60% of women who want avoid pregnancy are not protected by modern contraception.

7.9 million women give birth in Nigeria each year. Many do not have access to adequate maternal health services which means that Nigeria has the 4th highest maternal mortality ratios in the world. With 67,000 maternal deaths each year, Nigeria accounts for 23% of all maternal deaths globally. Abortion is only legal to save the life of the mother, and unsafe abortions contributes to the maternal mortality rate.

There has been a sharp decline in the prevalence rates of female genital mutilation among younger generations, but the practice still presents a risk to girls particularly in some regions.