Child marriage prevalent in Ghana

Mr. Baah Wadieh

Mr. Baah Wadieh

The 2017/18 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) launched in Accra yesterday has revealed that child marriage continues to be a problem to the country.

The MICS, the third to be conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS)  since 2006 indicated that one out of five women aged 20-24, got married before age 18.

In addition, the MICS revealed that one out of 20 women aged between 20 -24 got married before age 15 and large proportions of persons in rural than urban areas practice child marriage.

“Child marriage increases with less education and less wealth and child marriage is highest in Northern, Upper East and Volta regions, and lowest in Greater Accra, Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions,” the MICS stated.

The MICS also revealed that one in every five person still practice open defecation and nearly half of the poorest household population practice open defecation and the practice decreases  with increase in wealth and more prevalent in rural areas.

On health, the MICS, among others, revealed that infant mortality had reduced from 49 to 41 per cent over the fourteen years and said there had been improvement in healthcare delivery in the country with six in every ten pregnant woman attending first antenatal visit during the first four months of pregnancy.

On education, the MICS said attendance rate for early childhood pre-primary education are high (71per cent) and every four out of five children of five years are attending early childhood or primary education.

It said girls’ net attendance rates were marginally higher than boys at primary schools and Junior High School levels but reduces at  Senior High Schools.

This year’s survey conducted in October and funded by the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme, Korea International Cooperation Agency and the United States Agency for International Development, sampled 13,202 with a response rate of 98 per cent.

The sample size for men aged 15-49 was 5, 476 with a response rate of 97 per cent, that of women age 15-49 years are 14,609 with a response rate of 98 per cent, the sample size of children under five are 8,903 with a 100 per cent response rate, and the sample of children 5-17 8,965 with a response rate of 100 per cent.

The MICS  highlighted on 20 thematic areas, namely  Mass  Media and Communication and Internet, Child Functioning, Child Mortality, Fertility and Family Planning, Adolescent, HIV and Sexual Behaviour, Maternal and New Born Health.

The rest are Child Health and Care of Illness, Infant and Young Child Feeding, Nutrition Status of Children, Early Childhood Development, Education, Early Grade Learning and Parent Involvement, Birth Registration, Child Discipline, Child Labour, Early Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation, Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Gender Equality.

Speaking at the launch, the Acting Government Statistician, Baah Wadieh said the MICS had become a key source of data on child protection, early education, health and nutrition.

The MICS, he said, was a data tool to generate data for monitoring the progress towards national goals and global communities aimed at promoting the welfare of children.

He said the findings of MICS would provide data for evidence-based policy formulation, implementation and monitoring and evaluation to enhance national socio economic development and expressed gratitude the organisations that sponsored the survey.

The UNICEF Country Representative, Annel-Claire Dufay in spite of the programme made by the country in terms of health, education and water and sanitation services delivery, there was much to be done to achieve equity.

“The MICS data has revealed striking disparities, with three Northern Regions and part of Volta lagging behind.  For, example, while nine out of ten pregnant women are attended to by skilled personnel during child birth in greater Accra, the figure stands only at six out ten in the Northern Region,” she said.

A Professor at the University of Ghana, Emerita Takyiwah Manuh commended the GSS for the report, stressing that the service was doing well in generating official data to help in evidenced-based policing formulation and implementation.

By Kingsley Asare & David Takyi

 

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