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Child marriage and maternal health risks among young mothers in Gombi, Adamawa State, Nigeria: Implications for mortality, entitlements and freedoms

Adedokun A. Olaide, Lagos State University
Gbemiga E. Adeyemi, Lagos State University
Cholli Dauda, Lagos State University

Efforts towards the liberation of the girl-child from the shackles of early marriage have continued to be resisted with tradition, culture and religion in parts of northern Nigeria. This study examines the maternal health implications of early marriage on young mothers in Gombi, using data obtained from 200 young mothers aged 15-24years. The study reveals that more than 60% had only primary education, 50% had been married for between 5-9years and more than 70% had experienced complications before or after childbirth. Age at first marriage, current age, level of education and household-decision making influence maternal health risks. Entitlements and freedoms that are highly relevant to reduction of maternal mortality, provided by international treaties are inaccessible to young women in the study area. Strategies to end child marriage in the study area should include mass and compulsory education of girls, provision of other options to early marriage and childbearing and involvement of fathers in preventing and ending the practice.

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Presented in Session 67: Gender, sexuality, and vulnerability