Child Marriage: A Silent Health and Human Rights Issue

Marriages involving a kid under the age of 18 have place all over the world, but are most common in South Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Child marriage is a violation of human rights since it has a direct influence on girls’ education, health, psychologic well-being, and the health of their kids. It raises the chances of developing depression, sexually transmitted infections, cervical cancer, malaria, obstetric fistulas, and maternal mortality. Their children are at a higher risk of premature delivery and, as a result, neonatal or infant mortality. Poverty drives the custom, which is kept alive to secure the financial prospects of females and to strengthen social relationships. Mandating that girls stay in school is one of the most effective ways of preventing child marriage and its health effects. Child marriage, defined as marriage of a child under 18 years of age, is a silent and yet widespread practice.

Factors Driving Child Marriage

Child marriages are motivated by three factors: poverty, the desire to strengthen social relationships, and the idea that it provides protection. Child marriage is more common in impoverished communities. Parents confront two economic incentives: ensuring their daughter’s financial stability and reducing the financial burden girls impose on the family.

Child marriage is, first and foremost, a result of economic desperation. Feeding, clothing, and educating girls is expensive, and they eventually leave the home. The bride’s family receives a dowry as a result of her marriage. The larger the dowry, and the sooner the economic responsibility of rearing the daughter is relieved, the younger the girl.

By marrying their daughter to a “good” household, parents strengthen social links between tribes or clans and raise their social standing. Parents also think that marrying their daughters while they are young protects them against rape, premarital sexual activity, unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted illnesses, including HIV and AIDS.

Causes Of Child Marriage:-

Previously, there was a custom of child marriage, in which children were wedded at a young age. Poverty and girls’ lack of education are the primary causes of child marriage.

When a parent receives a threat from another parent regarding the marriage of their children, they may prepare for child marriage. The illiteracy of the kid’s parents is a major reason of child marriage.

Health Consequences of Child Marriage

Isolation and Depression:-

Girls are transported to their husband’s home after marriage, where they undertake the roles of wife, domestic worker, and, eventually, mother. These new residences may be located in a separate village or town. Because of the large dowry, men are often considerably older than the girls (and so have nothing in common with them), and their new brides are expected to procreate. Polygamy may be permitted in some of these areas as well. As a result, the females experience rejection, isolation, and depression. Some females recognise that survival necessitates adapting to their new surroundings and demonstrating their fecundity. They miss out on their youth and the ability to play, make friends, and be educated.

Risk of Sexually Transmitted Infection and Cervical Cancer:-

Parents think that marrying their daughters at a young age shields them against HIV/AIDS. According to research, marriage before the age of 20 is a risk factor for HIV infection in females. 7 In Kenya, married females are 50% more likely than unmarried girls to contract HIV. The danger is considerably worse in Zambia (59 percent ). In Uganda, the HIV prevalence rate among married and unmarried females aged 15 to 19 years is 89 percent and 66 percent, respectively. These females were infected by their spouses. Because the females were attempting to demonstrate their fertility, they engaged in frequent, unprotected intercourse with their husbands. Their elder spouses had already had sexual relationships or were polygamous. Furthermore, the girls’ virginity and physical immaturity raise the danger of HIV transmission by hymenal, vaginal, or cervical lacerations. 5 Other sexually transmitted diseases, such as herpes simplex virus type 2, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia, are also more common and increase the girls’ susceptibility to HIV. According to research, child marriage increases the risk of human papillomavirus transmission and cervical cancer.

Risks During Pregnancy:-

Pregnant women in malaria-endemic areas were found to be at a greater risk of infection. Half of the 10.5 million girls and women who become infected with malaria die. During their first pregnancy, they are most vulnerable. Not only does pregnancy increase the chance of contracting malaria, but pregnant girls under the age of 19 have considerably greater malaria density than pregnant women over the age of 19. HIV and malaria coinfection rates are highest in Central African Republic, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, where more than 90% of the population is malaria-exposed and more than 10% is HIV positive. The presence of both illnesses complicates their management and treatment. HIV-infected individuals are more likely to contract Plasmodium falciparum, a more severe form of the malaria parasite. They are less likely to respond to antimalarial treatment as well. Malaria increases the viral load of HIV and the rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission. Data show that the combination of these illnesses is lethal to a young pregnant woman.

Risks for Infants:-

Moms under the age of 18 have a 35% to 55% greater chance of having a preterm or low-birthweight baby than mothers over the age of 19. When the mother is under the age of 18, the infant death rate rises by 60%. Data show that even after surviving the first year, children under the age of five had a 28% higher death rate in the young moms group. This morbidity and mortality is due to the young mothers’ poor nutrition, physical and emotional immaturity, lack of access to social and reproductive services, and higher risk for infectious diseases.

Post a Comment