LAMJUNG, July 25: Despite conducting enough awareness programs, around 31% of the women who come for delivery in Lamjung District Community Hospital (LDCH) are below 20 years of age.
According to the record maintained by the hospital, most of the girls who come for pregnancy checkup, follow-up and delivery in the hospital were married between the age of 16 and 18. Chief Administrative Officer of the hospital, Yuvraj Devkota, informed that some of the girls deliver babies before 16 years of age. According to him, women giving birth at such a tender age are given 'counseling' as that can be risky for their health and life.
As per the details of the hospital, 363 women out of the total of 1,190 women who came for delivery in the Fiscal Year 2017/18 were below 20 years. In the Fiscal Year 2016/17, 225 out of 1,202 women were less than 20 years. Likewise, in the Fiscal Year 2015/16, 256 out of 1,225 women were below 20.
As the girls of poor and marginalized communities get married before the legally eligible age, they get pregnant early. Rammaya Thakuri, chief of the nursing department of the hospital, often suggests women to give birth in between 20 to 35 years of age. According to her, giving birth after 35 is equally risky. Both early and late pregnancy can result in uterine prolapse and various other health problems. That can even cost their lives, Thakuri warned.
Gynecologist Srijana Hamal at the community hospital informed that early pregnancy can lead to various kinds of physical as well as mental health problems in the long run. The LDCH and District Public Health Office (DPHO) are unable to control early pregnancy despite conducting awareness programs against early marriage. There are altogether 669 women health workers in four municipalities and four rural municipalities of the district and they have been conducting programs in their respective wards toward this end.
This has increased the number of women delivering babies in the health centers, says Keshav Prasad Chapagain, chief of the DPHO. He stressed on the need of making women aware about the health hazards of early marriage and pregnancy.