AN under aged mother produces an undernourished child, and what you look at is a generation of underachievers.That about sums up the ill-effects of child marriage.
Indeed,there is an increasing realization that by effectively combating child marriage we would be redressing a whole lot of other problems that spring from it.It is pivotal to cutting back on baby boom,maternal and child mortalities ,malnutrition and domestic violence.When such is the potential range of benefits promised by eradication of child marriage ,the lack of matching efforts to fend it off is both inexplicable and inexcusable.
How despite our realization of its baneful effects ,we have allowed its magnitude to grow is appalling:As many as 66 percent of girls under 18 have been victims of being married off with severe health risks to underaged mothers and the new-born babies.
Given the defiant and pervasive nature of the problem,we need to launch a massive social sensitization campaign against what is essentially a social malaise.Gender discrimination is at the root of the problem.Literacy and awareness of a girl child's rights will be of help.Basically though,the rejectionist approach would have to come from within households and communities.
Of course, the archaic law of 1929 is shame .An updated ,strong law prescribing exemplary punishment to offenders and plugging hole for cooking up age of the bride in particular are imperatives.Digital birth registration should be an antidote.
The services of local government representatives, teachers, NGO activists and imams need to be employed for the drive.