Adolescent Morbidity Pattern in Nigeria: Is the Pattern Changing?

Woroma Wonodi *

Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria and Department of Paediatrics, Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Nigeria.

Tamunoiyowuna Grace Okari

Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, Nigeria and Department of Paediatrics, Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Nigeria.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Background: Adolescents make up a large and growing percentage of populations in the world, especially in the developing nations. They have peculiar health needs which are often neglected due to paucity of data from our health institutions and non-implementation of existing adolescent health policies.

Objective: The aim of the study was to determine the morbidity pattern among adolescents attending the Paediatric outpatient clinic of a tertiary health facility.

Methodology: This was a cross-sectional study of adolescents aged 10-17 years seen at the Paediatric Outpatient Clinic (POPC) from first of July to 31st of December 2022. Consent was obtained from parents/caregivers and assent from the adolescents. The socio-demographic data obtained from them as well as the clinical details and diagnoses made by attending physicians were recorded in the study proforma. Data was analyzed with IBM Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 23 and data presented in tables and charts.

Results: A total of 136 adolescents were enrolled in the study with a male: female ratio of 1:1.6. Most 90 (66.2%) were early adolescents, attended private secondary schools and belonged to the middle socioeconomic class. The commonest presenting complaints were body pains 24 (17.6%), convulsion 22 (16.2%) and cough 17 (12.5%). The three commonest diagnoses made were epilepsy 25(18.4%), respiratory tract infections 15 (11%), and sickle cell disease (9.6%).  Non-communicable diseases (61%) were more prevalent, but there was no statistical difference in its prevalence among their socio-demographic characteristics. Eleven (8.1%) had surgical diagnoses such as appendicitis, inguino-scrotal hernia and ganglion.

Conclusion: The morbidity pattern of adolescents in the study consisted of medical and surgical diagnoses. There appears to be a shift in morbidity pattern from communicable to non-communicable diseases among adolescents in the locality and this may be put into consideration in policy formulation for adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescent, communicable, morbidity pattern, non-communicable, paediatric outpatient clinic, tertiary health facility

How to Cite

Wonodi , W., & Okari , T. G. (2024). Adolescent Morbidity Pattern in Nigeria: Is the Pattern Changing?. International Journal of TROPICAL DISEASE & Health, 45(6), 154–163.


Download data is not yet available.


World Health Organization: Adolescent Health. Available: Accessed on: 20/3/2023.

Unicef for every child: Adolescent. Available: adolescents,it%2C%20significant%20growth%20and%20development. Accessed on 20/3/2023

Federal Republic of Nigeria National Policy on the Health and Development of Adolescents and young people in Nigeria: 2020-2024 (revised policy).

Rivers State, Nigeria - Statistics. Available: Accessed On: 23/03/2023

Ojukwu JU, Ogbu CN. Morbidity pattern in adolescents attending ambulatory care unit in Abakaliki. Niger J Paediatr. 2005;32(2): 33-39.

Gore FM, Bloem PJN, Patton GC, Ferguson J, Joseph V, Coffey C et al. Global Burden of disease in young people aged 10-24 years: a systematic analysis. Lancet. 2011;377:2093-102.

Baltag, V, Sawyer, S.M. Quality Health Care for Adolescents. In: Cherry, A., Baltag, V., Dillon, M. (eds) International Handbook on Adolescent Health and Development. (2017). Springer, Cham. pg 309 -324.


Adolescent health research priorities: Report of a technical consultation, 13th and 14th October 2015, Geneva, Switzerland. World Health Organization - 2015 – WHO_FWC_MCA_15_07_eng.pdf

Iyanam VE,1 Udoh SB, Motilewa OO, Udonwa NE. Morbidity profile of adolescents seen at a secondary missionary healthcare facility in Southern Nigeria: A 2-Year Review. Int J Med Sci. 2018;5(10):13-20.

Sinha S, Gupta P, Sachan B, Kumar S, Kumari S. A study on the morbidity pattern in adolescent school girls. Int J Community Med Public Hlth. 2017;4:1901-5.

Oyedeji GA. Socio-economic and cultural background of hospitalized children in Ilesha. Nig J Paed. 1985;12:111-7.

Offiong UM, Mairiga F. Morbidity and mortality pattern among yoong adolescents at the emergency pediatric unit in a tertiary care facility in Abuja, Nigeria. N Niger J Clin Res. 2017;6:26-30.

Al-Eissa EI. The morbidity pattern among adolescents visiting primary health care centers. Saudi Medical Journal. 2000;21(10):934-937. PMID: 11369956.

Swain MS, Henschke N, Kamper SJ, Gobina I, Ottova-Jordan V, et al. An international survey of pain in adolescents. BMC Public Health 2014;14: 447 Available:

Sivagurunathan C, Gopalakrishnan S, Umadevi R, Kumar PM. Morbidity profile of adolescents reported to an urban health center in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu, India. Int J Comm Med Public Health 2015; 2(4):587-9. Available:

Pan America Health Organization and World Health Organization. Non-communicable diseases in children adolescents and young adults. A visual summary; 2024 Available:

Osemwenkha, Abieyuwa P.; Osaikhuwuomwan, James A.; Chukwudi, Edwin O.Age at menarche among secondary school girls in an urban population of Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Experimental and Clinical Biosciences 2014;2(2):95-99. DOI: 10.4103/2348-0149.144844

Henrichs KL, McCauley HL, Miller E, Styne DM, Saito N, Breslau J. Early menarche and childhood adversities in a nationally representative sample. International journal of pediatric endocrinology. 2014;;2014:1-8.

Al-Sahab B, Ardern CI, Hamadeh MJ, Tamim H. Age at menarche in Canada: results from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children & Youth. BMC public health. 2010;10:1-8.

Deng Y, Liang J, Zong Y, Yu P, Xie R, Guo Y, Wang Z, Deng N, Gao Y, Jiang Y, Yang Y. Timing of spermarche and menarche among urban students in Guangzhou, China: trends from 2005 to 2012 and association with Obesity. Scientific Reports. 2018;8(1):263.

Wahab A, Wilopo SA, Hakimi M, Ismail D. Declining age at menarche in Indonesia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health. 2020; 25;32(6):20180021.

Bozzola M, Bozzola E, Montalbano C, Stamati FA, Ferrara P, Villani A. Delayed puberty versus hypogonadism: A challenge for the pediatrician. Ann Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2018;23(2):57-61. DOI: 10.6065/apem.2018.23.2.57

Yu EJ, Choe S, Yun J, Son M. Association of Early Menarche with Adolescent Health in the Setting of Rapidly Decreasing Age at Menarche. .Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. 2020;3:264-2733.

Ibitoye M, Choi C, Tai H, Lee G, Sommer M. Early menarche: A systematic review of its effect on sexual and reproductive health in low- and middle-income countries. PLoS One. 2017;12(6): e0178884 Available: