child marriage
child marriage

The practice has also increased the poverty cycles and maternal deaths among young girls, the chiefs said adding that people should not hide under socio cultural practices to perpetuate poverty and disease through early marriages.

child marriage
child marriage
Naa Cyril K. Debang, the Gaaperi Naa, said this at a Community Empowerment against Child Marriage (CEACM) forum held at Fielmuo on Sunday.

“We have resolved together that child marriage is abolished in the area and all stakeholders must ensure that they report cases of child marriages and other forms of abuses to the security agencies for the law to take its course”, the chief said.

Naa Debang, who spoke on behalf of the Fielmuo Naa, Naa Francis Danikuu, warned people who would want to hide behind the socio-cultural practices to continue with the practice to end that act.

He said opinion leaders in all the14 communities in the area which formed the division have agreed to sanction any person found to have indulged in the practice.

Dr Musheibu Mohammed Alfa, Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, said children occupy a significant place in society and needed to be nurtured to enable them to become useful citizens.

He said children needed education to contribute their quota to the development of society and nobody should do anything untoward to curtail the development of their potentials through child marriage.

The Deputy Regional Minister said the family and community have the responsibility to protect children, especially the girl-child to grow to become women before they were given out for marriage.

Dr Alfa urged community members to expose all families who were not prepared to abolish the practice while calling stakeholders such as district assemblies, security agencies to ensure that child issues were brought to the limelight and addressed appropriately.

Madam Cecilia Kakariba, Sissala West District Director of Health, who spoke on the health situation in the district, said 690 teenage pregnancies were recorded between 2015 and 2016 with Fielmuo registering 67 of the cases.

She said 15 abortion cases among young girls were also recorded within the same period and four of the cases came from the Fielmuo area.

Mr Joao Mendes, Child Protection Specialist at the UNICEF Office in Tamale, said child marriage has become a global problem for UNICEF and pledged UNICEF support to Ghana to help fight early marriages among girls.

He said child marriage was a complex phenomenon and this needed concerted efforts from all community members to end the practice.

Mr Mendes advised community members to assess the root causes of the practice and critically examine the management of children in the society to help find a remedy to the canker.

Mr Alexis Dery Danikuu, Executive Director of Centre for Development Initiatives (CDI), who reviewed objectives of the forum, said on average one out of four girls would married before their 18th birthday in Ghana.

Quoting the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey Report of 2011, he said the prevalence rate of child marriage among women aged between15-49 was 27 per cent whilst that for women aged 20 and 24 stood at 20.9 per cent.

Child marriage had increased from a national average of 25.9 per cent in 2006 to 27 per cent in 2011.

Mr Danikuu said child marriage involves one in every three girls in northern parts of Ghana while girls in rural areas are twice as likely to become child brides compared to girls in the urban areas.

The CDI organised the forum with sponsorship from UNICEF to deliberate on “child, early and forced marriages and find solutions to abolishing the practice.

Source: GNA/News Ghana


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