Law to fix 18 year age for marriage soon: Women Dev Minister

KARACHI: Marriages in early age will be banned soon as legislation has already been proposed that no girl will get married before the age of 18 years, said, Sindh Minister for Women Development and Social Welfare Robina Qaimkhani.

She said that this legislation is drafted by the department of Women Development and Social Welfare and the Law Department and Sindh Cabinet respectively.

Now this draft will be presented in the coming session of Sindh Assembly. Violators of this law will be fined Rs 100,000 cash and could be imprisoned for two years.
She was speaking in a seminar on mother and child health held here in a
local hotel, said a statement on Thursday.

Seminar was organized by National Forum for Environment and Health (NFEH) and supported by the Mother and Newborns Care Program, Health Department Sindh.
Dr Sher Shah Syed, Dr Rufina Soomro, Dr Kaiser Waheed Chairman National
Forum for Environment and Health Dr Kaiser Waheed, President NFEH Naeem Qureshi, Dr Khalil Shaikh of Rehnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan, Afia Salam known chef Gulzar and Yogi Wajahat also spoke on this occasion.

The Sindh Minister said that “We were witnessing that younger girls at the age of 13 years admitted in shelter homes complained that their family is forcing them to get marry at this age”.

She said that we will have to stop early child marriages as we know that early marriages results in poor health of expecting mothers and their newborns.

Robina Qaimkhani told that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto launched the Lady Health Workers Programme to decrease maternal and infant mortality in her government and always focused women population of the country.

“We believe that without giving opportunities to women which are half of our population, we can not get prosperity,” she added. Director, MNCH Programme Sindh, Dr Sahib Jan Badar informed that government has introduced a new cadre of Community Midwives in health system to improve maternal and newborns indicators in the province.

“More than 1400 such community midwives are under training and being deployed in far flung and rural areas of Sindh. Our target is to deploy 6000 community midwives which can drastically bring down the rate of maternal and infant mortality,” she added.

Dr Sahib Jan said that “government alone can not do much and to achieve our goals we all will have to work together. Media should also promote health activities and positivist in the society,” she urged.

Talking about early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, Dr Rufina Soomro of Liaquat National hospital Karachi informed the gathering that 30 percent of women under the age of 40 years are at risk of breast cancer and risk is increased with the ageing which is alarming.

“Women at the age of 40 and above must have ultrasound or mammogram scan one a year”.

“There is only one mammography machine each in Larkana and Hyderabad apart from Karachi public-sector Atomic Energy Centers. These issues should be addressed and at least screening facilities should be provided at district level,” she urged.

Earlier Minister Women development presented five appreciation awards to
nurses from various organizations for their long and out standing services.