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IPS Examines Health Implications Of Child Marriage In Afghanistan

Inter Press Service examines the relationship between child marriage and the health of women and girls in Afghanistan. “In Afghanistan, the maternal mortality rate is on the rise; hospitals are filling up with anemic women and girls; and in over 200 districts, high schools are devoid of even a single female pupil,” the news service writes, adding, “These issues are not unrelated — they are all products of a grave social problem in this country of 35 million people: early child marriages.”

“According to Sadia Fayeq Ayubi, head of the reproductive health department at the ministry of public health, early marriage (of girls younger than 16 years) is illegal in Afghanistan yet girls as young as 13 are frequently married, often to much older men,” IPS notes. The news services provides statistics on a number of related health issues, such as maternal mortality, suicide and self-immolation rates, and writes, “Experts and advocates suspect that early marriages are playing a role in pushing an increasing number of women to these desperate, often fatal, acts” (Telaee, 2/26).