Health Desk--- July 27, 2016: Teenage girls need special attention from the families and state as they face various challenges including child marriage, sexual violence and deprivation of education, adolescents and population experts said.
They go through physical and mental changes at this age, but are often seen as burdens and married off early instead of providing them adequate education or awareness to face the challenges, they said.
Besides, they go through various health risks as they become pregnant at an early age and often give births to children who face malnourishment and do not make up a healthy and skilled workforce in future life.
The observations came on Monday at a roundtable titled “Investing in Teenage Girls” jointly organised by the UNFPA and The Daily Star at the capital's The Daily Star Centre.
“We are often married off forcibly and early. We cannot adjust to the new families,” said Noor Konna Keya Moni, a teenage volunteer of the Bangladesh Association for Prevention of Septic Abortion (Bapsa).
Adolescents aged 10-19 years account for 36 million in Bangladesh and 59pc of girls get married before 18.
And, 31pc aged 15-19 get pregnant with their first child, according to the Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey 2014. Significant number of child and maternal deaths is caused due to child marriage, experts said.
Nurn Nahar, another Bapsa volunteer, said, “Our voices are needed to be heard.”