Health Consequences of Child Marriage in Africa

  • Citation: Nour, Nawal M. “Health Consequences of Child Marriage in Africa.” Emerging infectious diseases vol. 12,11 (2006): 1644-9.
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • child marriage
    • early marriage
    • maternal mortality
    • HIV/AIDS
    • fistula
    • perspective
    • Africa

Despite international agreements and national laws, marriage of girls <18 years of age is common worldwide and affects millions. Child marriage is a human rights violation that prevents girls from obtaining an education, enjoying optimal health, bonding with others their own age, maturing, and ultimately choosing their own life partners. Child marriage is driven by poverty and has many effects on girls’ health: increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer, malaria, death during childbirth, and obstetric fistulas. Girls’ offspring are at increased risk for premature birth and death as neonates, infants, or children. To stop child marriage, policies and programs must educate communities, raise awareness, engage local and religious leaders, involve parents, and empower girls through education and employment.