Determinants and effect of girl child marriage: a cross sectional study of school girls in Plateau State, Nigeria
Background: Child marriage is a major problem contributing to maternal morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. It has effect on both social and health of not only the girl child but the children born to these young mothers.
Aim: This study aimed at assessing the determinants of early marriage among secondary school girls in Plateau State and its effect especially on their health and education.
Methods: The study was a cross sectional study of young girls in 21 secondary schools across the three geopolitical zones in Plateau state, selected through a simple random sampling technique after obtaining consent from the JUTH ethical committee and permission from the State ministry of education and the principals of the various schools.
Results: The study found that while must marriages among girls are forceful marriages, the factors that influenced early marriage was poor educational level of parents, poverty and place of residence. The girls who married among them reported having had some health challenges and educational backwardness as a result of early marriage.
Conclusion: This study found that poverty and poor education are the underlying cause of child marriage and child marriage is usually against the will of the girls who desire to be educated.
Key words: Early marriage, maternal and childhood morbidity and mortality, Child Right Act, girl child education, puberty, teenage pregnancy