Association between Child Marriage and Reproductive Health Outcomes: A Multi-Country Study of Sub-Saharan Africa

Deepali Godha, Tulane University
Anastasia J. Gage, Tulane University
David Hotchkiss, Tulane University

Although sub-Saharan Africa has seven of the nine countries in the world with more than 50% prevalence of child marriage, there is relatively little empirical evidence of association between child marriage and health outcomes in Africa. Multivariate logistic models are used to assess the association of child marriage with fertility and maternal health care utilization outcomes among currently married women aged 20-24 in four African countries – Niger, Guinea, Mali, and Ethiopia. Findings show that the strength of the association between child marriage and reproductive health outcomes varies from country to country. In all countries, child marriage is significantly associated with high fertility and history of rapid repeat childbirth. Child marriage is associated with early fertility, lack of fertility control, and pregnancy termination in three countries and with unintended pregnancy in two countries. In Niger, child marriage is negatively associated with adequate antenatal visits, skilled birth attendance, and institutional delivery.

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Presented in Session 23: Fertility Transition in Africa