The Reproductive Health Consequences of Early Marriage in Sudan: Findings from the 1999 Safe Motherhood Survey
Manar E. Abdel-Rahman, University of Khartoum
Mohamed M. Ali, World Health Organization (WHO)
Almost all adolescent women in Sudan who bear children do so within marriage, and early marriage is a social norm and married couples are under social pressure to have a child sooner after marriage. Therefore, it is important to study young married women reproductive health in order to develop policies and programmes to improve the health and well-being of this group. Using the 1999 Sudan Safe Motherhood Survey the paper will focus on the following: Pregnancy loss; Childhood mortality; Pregnancy and postpartum complications; and Reproductive tract infections (RTI) such as abnormal vaginal discharge and urinary tract infections. There were 3097 (19%) ever-married women aged 15-24 years. Almost all of them are currently married (96%). Education level is low, only 51% attended schools. The mean age at first marriage is 16.4 years. Only about half of young married women know one or more methods and current contraceptive use is below 10%.