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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 112-113

Addressing the Root Causes for Child Marriage in Costa Rica by Involving Young Advocates: 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_23_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Addressing the Root Causes for Child Marriage in Costa Rica by Involving Young Advocates: United Nations Population Fund. MAMC J Med Sci 2017;3:112-3

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Addressing the Root Causes for Child Marriage in Costa Rica by Involving Young Advocates: United Nations Population Fund. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2017 [cited 2017 Nov 21];3:112-3. Available from: http://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2017/3/2/112/209018

Dear Editor,

The social menace of child marriage, which has existed for centuries, is an extremely complex problem and is an indicator of the widely prevalent gender inequality in the society and the nature of people to blindly follow the set traditions, even if they are wrong and harmful.[1] Furthermore, it is quite a common occurrence in the rural areas, with limited future prospects for a girl, and among the financially deprived people, because that seems the only option available for the parents to somehow decrease the number of dependants they have to feed, clothe, and educate.[1],[2] However, the role of social pressure within the society, or having a number of daughters in the family, or even the greedy attitude of the parents to get big monetary incentive from the prospective husband for a young bride cannot be ruled out.[1],[2],[3]

In fact, the estimates for the 2011–2020 decade indicate that in excess of 140 million girls will be forced to become child brides, of which 36% will be less than 15 years of age, all of which are shocking facts.[3] Even though a wide range of detrimental effects on the health status (such as early childbearing, childbirth complications, prone for sexually transmitted infections, and repeated episodes of violence) and the future prospects of a girl (because of being school dropouts and thus no vocational opportunities or being totally dependent on their husbands regardless of the manner in which they treat them) have been observed, very little progress has been made toward ending the practice of child marriage.[1],[3],[4]

Furthermore, the risk of the husband deserting the young wife and the newborn kid always exists, and in such a scenario, the girl is left with no option than to take care of their children, especially at an age when they themselves should be reading and exploring the different opportunities in the world, instead of changing diapers or staying up throughout the night.[1],[3] The estimates from Costa Rica indicate that each year close to 14,000 adolescent girls becomes pregnant, of which many are unplanned and, thus, associated with harmful consequences.[5] However, the situation becomes extremely challenging for the girls who deliver before attaining 15 years of age and often have poor outcomes for themselves as well as their families.[3],[5]

To reach to these vulnerable adolescent girls and adolescent mothers and to discourage the practice of child marriage, the United Nations Population Fund, along with the support of other international welfare agencies and the National Health Ministry, has initiated a project.[5] This project calls for the involvement of young women, who then act as a mediator to ensure training and counseling on women empowerment and their basic rights.[5] The aim of the initiative is to make these vulnerable girls aware about their right to live in a violence-free environment and the ways in which they can prevent future unwanted pregnancies.[1],[5] of the project, in excess of 750 adolescent girls and more than 110 adolescent mothers have been provided with the required support in the region of Costa Rica through these young advocates.[5]

To conclude, it is high time to address the root causes of child marriage and at the same time extend welfare measures to the married adolescent girls to ensure that they can attain optimal potential.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
  References Top

1.
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. 1
    
2.
Hotchkiss DR, Godha D, Gage AJ, Cappa C. Risk factors associated with the practice of child marriage among Roma girls in Serbia. BMC Int Health Hum Rights 2016;16:6.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
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 Feb 27].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Svanemyr J, Chandra-Mouli V. Consistent laws and child marriage. Int Perspect Sex Reprod Health 2015;41:218-20.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
UNFPA. In Costa Rica, From Teen Mom to Girls’ Rights Advocate; 2016. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/costa-rica-teen-mom-girls-rights-advocate. [Last accessed on 2017 Feb 27].  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

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