Early marriage leading to rise in teenage pregnancy in Ramechhap

Ramechhap, April 11

Cases of early marriage and child bearing are on the rise in Ramechhap.

Chief at Primary Health Centre in Manthali Dr Nilija Shakya said of the total number of women and girls who visit the health facility for delivery, 30 to 40 pc are below the age of 20.

“The rate of young girls bearing child is very high,” Dr Shakya said.

She stressed the need to launch awareness campaigns to prevent girls and women from becoming mothers at a tender age.

Many girls become mothers before knowing what a mother should do. When the baby cries out of hunger, the new mother rushes the baby to hospital instead of breastfeeding, Shakya added. “Many become mothers before they are mentally prepared,” Shakya stated. Girls, who become mothers at a young age are not even aware about their responsibilities,” she added.

Manthali Primary Health Centre is the only health facility that provides parturition service in the district. The health centre receives high number of service seekers as it is accessible to people of many rural parts.

“If a girl conceives at a young age, it could put the lives of both the mother and child at risk. Those who give birth at a young age will have to regret throughout their lives,” Shakya said.

Parturition service is becoming effective at Ramechhap District Hospital, Manthali, Khimti, and Gelu primary health centres. Women and girls visit the health centre as they receive allowance and other facilities when they deliver babies at health centres.

District Health Chief Dr Prakash Prasad Sah said very few women visited the health facility prior to delivery.

Female journalist Gyanu Shrestha said those who became mothers between 16 to 19 years of age were mainly uneducated and from the Dalit community. “Those who leave school at an early age and do not know anything about health become mothers at a young age,” Shrestha said. There are many girls in the community who gave birth to two to three children before they turned 20, according to Shrestha.

Hospital Chief Sah said uterus prolapse and infection are common among young mothers. “This is a serious problem which can be solved only with support from all stakeholders,” Sah added.

She stressed the need to launch counselling programme to control early marriage and stop early child bearing.