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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 106-107

Discouraging the Practice of Child Marriage in Cambodia: United Nations Population Fund


Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication28-Jun-2017

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College & Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur-Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/mamcjms.mamcjms_7_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Discouraging the Practice of Child Marriage in Cambodia: United Nations Population Fund. MAMC J Med Sci 2017;3:106-7

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Discouraging the Practice of Child Marriage in Cambodia: United Nations Population Fund. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Sep 19];3:106-7. Available from: http://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2017/3/2/106/209028

Sir,

Child marriage has been observed as a common social practice adopted by different communities under heterogeneous settings across the world.[1] In fact, the estimates for the same have been quite alarming, with almost 40,000 such marriages being performed each day globally.[1] Not only does the practice of child marriage deprive the girl of her childhood and an opportunity to get educated or become independent in the future, but also exposes her to the hazards of early childbearing and associated deadly health complications.[2],[3] In addition, these girls have been exposed to repeated episodes of violence, which leaves a long-term impact on their mental status and undermines the concept of gender equality.[1],[2],[3]

As observed in many low- and middle-income nations, the practice of child marriage is extremely frequent in Cambodia, with the findings of a recent survey in the northern part of the nation indicating that more than 20% of the girls in the age group of 1–19 years have already been married.[4] In fact, it has been identified that young girls find it extremely difficult to manage the entire home and bear responsibilities of domiciliary works and even children in most of the cases because of negligible knowledge about sexual and reproductive health.[2]

As far as the legal provisions are concerned, the Cambodian Civil Code of 2007 regulates different aspects of marriage, including the age of marriageability, registration, marital property, and protection of women from domestic violence and desertion. Even though Cambodian law forbids child marriages and has set the minimum age for marriage at 18, its implementation is extremely poor, and thus, the trends of child marriage are high.[4]

To respond to the challenge of child marriage, the United Nations Population Fund has started centers to stop the practice of violence against women.[5] These centers are run by an association to train the survivors of violence on the areas regarding income-generating skills, health information, and sensitization about gender equality, with an ultimate aim to aid women in becoming independent and surviving on their own.[5] Simultaneously, the international agency is working in collaboration with the local government to support the formulation of policies that can facilitate girls’ welfare and at the same time bring an end to child marriage.[5]

The basic purpose of these clubs is to motivate the husbands during their monthly meetings to prevent violence against women and also to give them an opportunity to discuss family matters.[5] The club also works in collaboration with the civil society groups to extend its efforts into the community to identify those women and girls who fail to access the services of the club or the health centers.[5] However, the most crucial role is played by the trained facilitators, who highlight the adverse consequences of child marriage and early pregnancy, the necessity for a pregnant woman to avail antenatal care, or the benefits that can be obtained by sending their daughters to school.[5] In fact, because of the constant efforts of these centers, many of the men have started to evaluate their decisions, and this has started to work in favor of the girl child.[5]

To conclude, there is an indispensable social need to discourage the practice of child marriage, and no sustained benefits can be obtained unless the community members are involved and sensitized about the adverse impacts of child marriage.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Child Marriages: 39 000 Every Day; 2013. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2013/child_marriage_20130307/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Jan 11].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Ending child marriage: Battling for a girl’s right to choose. Primary Health Care 2016;6:e114.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Martin SS, Adogaye SB, Rodrigue MB, Maurice D, Vivaldi TT, Amede SF et al. Study of knowledge, attitudes and practices in social reintegration of women victims of obstetric fistula: Region of the far-North, Cameroon. Pan Afr Med J 2015;20:172.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
van der Dorine. Legal and Gender Issues of Marriage and Divorce in Cambodia; 2014. Available from: http://cambodialpj.org/article/legal-and-gender-issues-of-marriage-and-divorce-in-cambodia/. [Last accessed on 2017 Feb 05].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
UNFPA. Changing Minds to Help Child Brides in Cameroon; 2016. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/changing-minds-help-child-brides-cameroon. [Last accessed on 2017 Jan 13].  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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