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India can Save $5 Billion in Healthcare by Eliminating Child Marriage, Adolescent Pregnancy

The study conducted by World Bank and ICRW not only highlights the problem but also serves an economic dimension to the problem which could be an incentive for the economy

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Child Marriage
The risks of child marriage. Wikimedia
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July 15, 2017: Indians could be saving an amount of $5 billion (Rs 33,500 crore) in health care over a period of seven years, according to a new report by the World Bank and International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), if it eliminates child marriage and early childbirth. This amount is equivalent to the country’s 2017-18 higher education budget of Rs 33,329 crore.

The report concluded that $17 billion (Rs 1.14 lakh crore) could be saved globally across 18 countries by the year 2030 of which India accounts for $10 billion (62%) due to its large population. The basis of the study is quite rational as prohibiting early marriage and births reduces population growth, which in turn reduces pressure on government budgets.

Lower population growth across 106 countries from ending child marriage can lead to $566 billion savings per year in 2030.

ALSO READ: Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls in Kenya in Return for Food

Child brides face violence, abuse and exposure to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD), are more likely to drop out of school and give birth at an early age.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), adolescent pregnancy can also lead to several health problems such as anaemia, malaria, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, postpartum haemorrhage and mental disorders.

The proportion of girls marrying before legal age increased from 1.78% in 2001 to 2.45% in 2011 in urban India and declined from 2.75% to 2.43% in rural India over the same period. Furthermore, 70 districts spread across 13 states reported: “high incidence” of early marriages, which account for 21% of the country’s child marriages, as reported by IndiaSpend on June 9, 2017.

Another study carried by India Spend in 2015 showed that nearly 17 million Indian children between the ages of 10 and 19 are married.  Six million children are born from them, which constitutes 47% of India’s population currently married. Of these married children, 76% (12.7 million) are girls.

The study conducted by World Bank and ICRW not only highlights the problem but also serves an economic dimension to the problem which could be an incentive for the economy as a whole, if eradicated completely.

– Prepared by a Staff Writer of Newsgram

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Statistics Of Babies Born With Syphilis Doubles Since 2013

Congenital syphilis is only a part of the nation's growing STD crisis. According to the CDC, the three most easily treatable sexually transmitted diseases — chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — rose nearly 10 percent in 2017.

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Premature babies
Low Cost Study Has High Impact Results For Premature Babies. VOA

The number of babies born infected with syphilis in the United States has more than doubled since 2013, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a report released Tuesday, the CDC said the number of cases of congenital syphilis, in which the disease is passed from the mother to the baby, increased 153 percent — from 362 in 2013 to 918 in 2017.

“When a baby gets syphilis, it means the system has failed that mother repeatedly, both before and during her pregnancy,” said David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors.

STD
One-third of the mothers who gave birth to babies with congenital syphilis had been tested. Wikimedia Commons

“If STD prevention programs had anywhere near the support they need, no new mom would ever have to cope with this devastating diagnosis,” he said.

Syphilis is easily treatable with antibiotics. But when untreated in the mother, it increases the risk of miscarriage and newborn death. Children born with the disease can suffer severe health consequences, including deformed bones, blindness or deafness.

About 70 percent of the cases of congenital syphilis in the U.S. over the span studied were found in California, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas.

Harvey said women should be tested before becoming pregnant, soon after becoming pregnant, and throughout the pregnancy.

STD
This 1972 microscope image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a Treponema pallidum bacterium which causes the disease syphilis.. VOA

One-third of the mothers who gave birth to babies with congenital syphilis had been tested. But the tests were performed too late in their pregnancies to prevent the infection of the fetuses, or the women became infected after being tested.

Also Read: Breastfeeding Now, Will Reduce Chances of Stroke Later in Post- Menopausal Stage

“That we have any cases of syphilis among newborns, let alone an increasing number, is a failure of the health care system,” Harvey said.

Congenital syphilis is only a part of the nation’s growing STD crisis. According to the CDC, the three most easily treatable sexually transmitted diseases — chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis — rose nearly 10 percent in 2017 to an all-time high of nearly 2.3 million cases. That eclipsed the previous record total from 2016 by more than 200,000 cases. (VOA)