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Despite a law in place, child marriages still on the rise

Despite a law in place, child marriages still on the rise

Karachi: After the passage of the Sindh Child Marriages Restraint Act 2013 by the provincial assembly, child marriages are still on the rise, leading to a higher rate of maternal mortalities in the region.

The prevalent situation has put a huge question mark on the efforts of the current government as regards combating the issue of child marriages.

To overcome this problem, HANDS and Rutgers WPF launched an awareness campaign through a project titled ‘Awareness to Action’ and trained 300 young people to create awareness among the masses in different parts of the Sindh province regarding girls’ health and safe motherhood.

HANDS officials said they were making efforts to curb early marriage issues, which caused early pregnancies and resulted in several complicated health problems for young mothers and newborn babies.

A consultative meeting of stakeholders – including the civil society, the media and government dignitaries – was convened to address the issues of health and rights of young girls, especially to highlight teenage pregnancies due to early marriages and measures to be taken for curbing the practice.

Apart from media representative and the civil society, senior officials of the health department were also present on the occasion.

Dr Abdul Shakoor of the health department said the situation of maternal health in Pakistan was not up to the mark, especially in the rural localities, where the women were still dependent on unskilled birth attendants.

Civil society experts stressed the need to ensure access to free medical services. They urged the authorities to take measures for curbing under-18 marriages and formulate strategies for implementing the child marriages restraint act.

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