Jayakala Pariyar, 18, with her two-year-old son at the District Hospital in Rolpa on Friday. Jayakala was just 15 when she got married. Photo: Dinesh Subedi/Republica
ROLPA, Feb 4: Jayakala Pariyar, 18, looked quite exhausted and weak when Republica met her on the premises of Rolpa District Hospital on Friday. She had come to the hospital for the treatment of her two-year-old son who was suffering from fever, cough and cold.
Pariyar, a local of Darbotaki village of Rolpa, was married at the age of 15.
“I got married at 15 and my son was born the next year,” she said, adding, “I became mother at the age when I should have been at school,” she bemoaned.
“It was a rash decision to marry, I now regret it so much,” she said.
Since her husband left for foreign employment last year, Pariyar has been finding it difficult to cope with the responsibilities as a single parent. She feels more stressed when the son falls ill.
“I have realized that early marriage damages your life. But it’s too late, I am already a mother,” she stated.
Cases like Pariyar’s are not uncommon in Rolpa. On Friday, there were several teenager moms standing in the line at the district hospital Friday to have their babies checked up.
According to Dr Prakash Budha, the issue of child marriage and early motherhood in the district has not been taken with due seriousness by the government. “The problem is very serious. If young girls are becoming mothers, it is not just them who suffer, but also their children. The entire two generations suffer and it goes even further,” he lamented. “But it seems the authorities have not realize this crisis,” he added.
Dr Budha stated that early motherhood has taken a serious toll on women’s health in Rolpa. Many girls undergo very complex pregnancy terms and deliveries and they bear the consequences their entire life. “In addition, we don’t have very sophisticated technologies to handle complex pregnancy cases,” he stated.
Wrong medications are also the reasons for health crisis among women in Rolpa. According to Dr Budha, many women use inappropriate and illegal methods to terminate pregnancy. And this has brought about other sorry situations in the villages and towns. “Following pregnancy-related complications, many go to health posts and private clinics where they may not find a professional health worker. Similarly, there is no proper monitoring of what these clinics are selling. Girls don’t know about many of the medicines and how these work. After their cases turn complex, they come to us or go to bigger hospitals,” he reported. “But by that time, things get worse,” he added.
In the last six months, 51 among 238 delivery cases registered at the district hospital involved women below 20 years of age. The marriageable age in Nepal for both women and men is 20.
“The situation is not good. Due to the lack of awareness, girls get married and become mothers at a very early age,” said a nurse at the hospital Meena Kawar. “It is very frustrating to see 15-16 year olds becoming mothers,” she added.
“It has become necessary to do something to stop child marriages here,” she said.