27% Ghanaian women marry before turning 18

Nana Oye Lithur,Minister for Gender,Children and Social ProtectionGhana has one of the highest child marriage prevalence rates in the world, according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2011.

The study showed that in Ghana, 27 per cent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 years were married or in union before age 18 as at 2011.

Dr Agnes Akosua Aidoo, former vice-chair of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, disclosed this at the opening of a two-day training workshop for 25 selected journalists at Koforidua in the Eastern Region on Friday.

The workshop, which was to update participants’ knowledge on child marriages in the country, was organised by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund as part of a three-year initiative focused on ending child marriage in Ghana which began in September 2014.

Dr Aidoo said the study revealed that one out of every four girls or (25 per cent) get married before her 18th birthday whiles six per cent will be married before age 15.

She said 39 per cent of girls in sub-Saharan Africa get married before they are 18 years whiles 13 percent are married by their 15th birthday.

“Globally, 16 million children were marry each year according to the United Nations Population Fund 2012 report,” she said.

Dr. Aidoo said child or early marriage compromises a girl’s development, denies her of her childhood, disrupts her education and affects her health.

“Child marriage contributes to intergenerational transfer of poverty and forces girls to become dependent on their families,” she said

Dr Aidoo stated that married girls become mothers and risk health problems including malnutrition, HIV infection, sexually transmitted infections, fistula, maternal morbidity and mortality if the issue is not addressed.

Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, in her address commended the media for contributing to the development of the country and called for their collaboration in addressing child marriages.

She assured of the Ministry’s continuous support towards curbing child marriage in Ghana.

By Anita Nyarko, Koforidua

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