A presidential aide, Mrs Maryam Uwais has advocated an end to early marriage in the country.
Uwais, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Special Protection Plan, said child marriage contributes greatly to Vesico-Vaginal Fistula.
Speaking in Lagos today, she added that VVF has assumed alarming dimensions in Nigeria, with the country having a global VVF prevalence rate of 40 per cent.
The gender activist further noted that child marriage also contributes to sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer, premature birth and death during childbirth.
Uwais said that the high percentage of under-16 girls who are victims of child marriage contribute to the prevalence of VVF.
She said, “It is estimated that 400, 000 to 800,000 girls are living with Obstetric Fistula with about 12,000 to 20,000 fresh cases being reported very year.
“We have only 12 existing surgical repair centres in the country and they can only handle 4,000 cases annually.
“So, for every year, we have a backlog of 16,000 girls who may not be able to access professional healthcare.
“If you go into the VVF hospitals, you will find that at least 65 to 70 per cent of the victims are young girls.’’
According to her, child marriage is a form of discrimination against the girl child as she is “deprived of her rights to health, education, development and sometimes even to survival.”
Uwais said that misconception of religion and poverty have bounded to increase the practice, while lack of education and information is keeping many girls in a state of subjugation.