Early marriage a curse | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 07, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 07, 2016


Early marriage a curse

23,000 deaths every year

According to UNICEF, 23,000 children would not have to die if women in the country did not give birth before the age of 20. These stark statistics drive home the dark side of child marriages in the country, which inevitably lead to early pregnancy. Child mortality is 66 per thousand children born to women aged below 20, whereas this number falls to 43 deaths per thousand children for women giving birth aged from 20 to 29. And it is not only child mortality that is of concern. Should women choose to have children at a safer age, there is more time for them to finish schooling. Marriage can help reduce population growth and encourage more women to join the workforce would help drive the economy forward.

Child marriages happen due to societal reasons and it is up to the government to work with the development partners to raise awareness on the dangers posed to women's health. It is also important to keep working on disseminating information on the importance of contraception, which according to health experts, teenage married girls tend to neglect. That pre-adulthood pregnancies are fraught with danger to newborns is a fact as is the lack of safe delivery methods.

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These and other issues bring us back to the need to reach out to the greater populace why it is not in the best interests of girls to get married early. Any state sponsored awareness campaign will be much more effective if partnered with media, both electronic and print.

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