Child marriage, most dangerous sexual gender-based violence against girls’ – Inger
The Chief Executive Officer CEO, of Save the Children International SCI, Inger Ashing, has described child marriage as one of the worst things to ever happen to the girl-child.
According to him, the body of the teenage girl is not yet suitable for childbirth, therefore, leading to complications and deprivation when married out at tender age.
Inger Ashing said: “Child marriage is one of the worst and deadliest forms of sexual and gender-based violence against the girls. Every year, millions are forced into wedlock with men who are often much older, robbing them of an opportunity to keep learning, be children, and in many cases, to survive.
“Childbirth is the number one killer of teenage girls because their young bodies aren’t ready to bear children. The health risks of children having children cannot, and must not, be ignored. Governments must prioritise girls and ensure they’re protected from child marriage and premature childbirth-related deaths. This can only happen if girls have a say in the decisions that affect them.”
Inger made the disclosure on Monday while presenting the SCI’s Global Girlhood Report on the International Day of the Girl-Child.
According to the report, over 22,000 girls die annually from childbirth pregnancy with Africa suffering the worst hit.
“With 9,600 deaths annually, West and Central Africa has the highest rate overall of child marriage-related deaths globally, translating to 26 deaths per day,” the report revealed
The report also disclosed that teenage maternal mortality rate is four times higher in Africa than anywhere else in the world.
The report said 44% of girls in Nigeria are married before their 18th birthday, one of the highest rate of child marriage globally.
According to the report, the situation is not getting any better as Nigerian girls are subjected to difficulties as a result of the ongoing armed conflict, humanitarian crisis, kidnapping, natural disaster, displacement, COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession.
“The lives of millions of girls are threatened as they are being pushed into the basket of deprivation, including reduced access to education, nutrition, lack of protection and lack of access to basic social services,” the SCI global report unveiled.