Maternal health is an essential concern for the development of a country. It is essential to ensure the health of the children and the whole family. However, maternal and child health remain one of the main concern for the healthcare system in almost all countries across the globe. The issue remains a concern and even one of the millennium development goals (MDGs) is about improving maternal health. The 5th-millennium development goal was about improving maternal health. The goal has primarily two targets which are 1) to reduce the maternal mortality rate by 75 percent and to achieve universal access to reproductive health (“WHO | MDG 5,” 2015).
There are several contributing factors to poor maternal health and one of the main factors is child marriage. Approximately, 700 million women married and alive got married before their 18th birthday (Svanemyr, Chandra-Mouli, Raj, Travers, & Sundaram, 2015). Child marriage is not a human rights violation but also a barrier to achieving health, development, and gender equality for countries. The rates of child marriage are still alarmingly high and it is estimated that approximately 39000 girls marry too young every day which means 14.2 million girls annually (“WHO | Child marriages: 39 000 every day,” 2013). Child marriage will impact the health of the girls because it leads to the initiation of sexual activity at an age when the girls are still in the puberty stage and their bodies are developing. The girls at a such young age are not physically and mentally or emotionally ready to give birth. Because of this girls at this age are at greater risk of maternal death, death during pregnancy, injuries during labor, or other pregnancy-related injuries (Raj, 2010). Younger girls are usually married to older men and they are also under the pressure to prove their fertility. In addition, the younger girls have no say in the decision or the opinion about safe sex perspective. The girls are also at risk of early pregnancies, acquiring HIV infections and other maternal infections such as obstetric fistula (Svanemyr et al., 2015).
The girls are also married at a young age which means that their education is also not complete putting them more at risk of unawareness and increasing the percentage of uneducated women. Also, the intimate partner violence rate is also high in child marriages (Raj, 2010). Lack of education, poverty, gender biasness, traditions, and patriarchy are some of the reasons for child marriage. Child marriage is one of the sole reasons for repeated pregnancies and early pregnancies. There are several solutions that are proposed but one of the main solutions is educating the parents and empowering the girls. Health services should focus on educating young girls and women whether formally or informally about reproductive health issues (Svanemyr et al., 2015). The focus of education should be skill building and other generating activities. Empowering girls and communicating directly with girls will help them know their rights and encourage them to work for themselves (Raj, 2010). Involving the male members of the society can also be effective to reduce the child marriage in communities and countries. Also, countries should have some regulations and policies about child marriage, and policies should be more than paperwork and implemented widely.