Despite laws against child marriage, the practice remains widespread in sub-Sahara Africa, partly because of poverty, inequality, and the need to reinforce family ties. Using pooled data from recent (2010-2015) DHS of 18-SSA countries, this study
explores the levels of child marriage as well as its implications for sexual and reproductive health of girls and infant survival in SSA. Findings suggest that women who married earlier than 18years in SSA were less likely to use a modern method of contraception [OR:0.92, CI:0.869-0.982], more likely to experience sexual violence [OR:1.33, CI:1.188-1.487], lower antenatal visits [IRR:0.94, CI:0.926-0.950] and less likely to deliver at a health facility [OR:0.53, CI:0.495-0.560]. They were also less likely to be assisted by a skilled birth attendant [OR:0.65, CI:0.609-0.685] and their first births were less likely to survive infancy [HR:0.84, CI:0.814-0.869]. Child marriage has serious implications for the sexual and reproductive health of women in SSA as well infant survival.
CONTRIBUTORS: Clifford Odimegwu (WITS University), Vesper Chisumpa (University of Zambia), Joshua Akinyemi (University of Ibadan)