Child marriage threatens health of young girls in Rolpa

Published On: March 5, 2019 05:57 AM NPT By: Dinesh Subedi

ROLPA, March 4: The details provided by the District Hospital, Rolpa, has raised concerns regarding the state of child marriage and women's reproductive health in the district. It has been found that the number of teenagers reaching the district hospital and other health organizations for delivery is significantly high.

According to the hospital, even girls aged 15/16 years come for pregnancy tests.

"A large number of girls deliver babies at a young age," said Dr Anil KC of the District Hospital, adding, "However, most girls deliver babies at home." Not just the number of child marriages but the cases of divorces are also increasing in the district.

In last three months, 295 women delivered their babies in the District Hospital. Of them, 94 were below 20 years.

"Most of the young girls who come here for tests usually tie their knot on their own, without parental consent," said Mina Kunwar, a nurse at the hospital.

Some of the girls these days have started adopting the measures of family planning, thanks to the growing awareness.

"Only a few women use family planning measures for birth spacing but most don't prefer using such measures," said Kunwar. Early marriage and pregnancy often invites serious health problems among women.

"Those who deliver their babies at a young age later come to the hospital complaining of stomachache and various other health problems," said Dr KC, adding," When we do ultrasonography test, most of them show the symptoms of uterine prolapse or postpartum hemorrhage."

Despite being aware about the dire situation of women, no government authority has taken effective measures to curb child marriage. Early pregnancy does not just affect the health of mothers but the infants as well.

Even though the government has declared child marriage a social crime, no complaints are filed against those practicing or promoting it. As per the new civil code, a person will be eligible for marriage only after reaching 20 years. If someone ties the knot before the eligible age, he/she will be subjected to jail term and will have to pay a certain fine as well.

The report publicized by the District Health Office (DHO), Rolpa, last year showed 29.43% women delivering babies were below 20 years of age. The survey conducted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Rolpa, in 2017 showed 30.14 % youths get married before 20 years. Another such survey conducted in 2018 showed 39% of girls in Rolpa marrying before reaching 18 years. Likewise, 6.8% of them tied the knot before 15 years of age.

Child marriage is one of the major reasons why 10% of the children are still out of school in the district, according to the survey of UNFPA.

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