Politicians urged to devise policy for preventing early girls’ marriages

Peshawar: Speakers at a consultative workshop urged the parliamentarians to make sure the policy for preventing marriages of girls in early ages as adolescent Girls and Young Mothers form a significant proportion of the population of Pakistan and more the 27 million girls fall in this category.

The workshop was organized by Rahnuma FPAP on the title of “Advocating for Improved Maternal and Neonatal Health MNH and Sexual and Reproductive Health SRH Policy and Practice for Adolescent Girls and Young Mothers AGYM” here on Monday.

Those who spoke on the occasion were include Mehar Sultana and Uzma Khan, member Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly, Gohar Zaman, regional director FPAP, Yasrab Nazir, coordinator FPAP, Aaliya Habib, programme manager Lahore and media persons of both print and electronic media.

Gohar Zaman said that adolescent and young people make up more than 60 percent of Pakistan population and out this 27 million were females. He added that Adolescent Girls and Young Mothers AGYMs were grossly neglected at the policy level leading to worst social indicators in South Asia that low female literacy, high infant mortality rate, high Maternal Mortality Ratio MMR, low Contraceptive Prevalence Rate CCR.

He maintained that FPAP with collaboration of Research and Advocacy Fund RAF had taken the initiatives to plug the policy and practice gaps at national, provincial and district levels for addressing the Sexual Reproductive Health SRH and Maternal and Neonatal Health MNH issues of young women by mobilizing the policy makers and stakeholders.

Aaliya Habib said that more than 27 million girls who were between the ages of 1024 years and the Net Enrolment Rate NET for girls was 36 percent as compared with 64 percent for boys and literacy rate for the age group 1519 years is 51 percent as compared with 79 percent for males.

She maintained 10 percent of girls aged 1519 years and 51 percent of those who between 2024 years are married. She added that the early marriages and pregnancies contribute to high rates of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality and Pakistan has amongst the worst indicators for these in the region.

She said the maternal mortality ratio is 276 out of 100,000 live births, the infant mortality rate is 78 out of 1000 live births and under five mortality rates is 94 out of 1000 live births with the girl child mortality higher than that of the male infant.

Uzma Khan said Mehar Sultana said that youth population had been increasing in our country and healthy society could track the country on developmental way but unfortunately adolescent girls were supported in this regard due to culture restriction.

They said there should be legislation but with full of its implementation for reducing such kind of issues because without implementation the legislation is nothing.

Both the female legislature said that on the occasion that they had prepared a draft resolution regarding health of adolescence and young mothers which they added would soon table in the provincial assembly to ensure better health to them.