“Who am I to tell my husband the number of children we should have?”: Sexual and reproductive health experiences of victims of child marriage in Ghana


Child marriage remains relatively high in developing countries such as Ghana despite
several legislations against it. This study explores the sexual and reproductive health of
victims of child marriages in selected communities in the Upper East Region of Ghana.
Employing the qualitative data collection methods of in-depth interviews, we examine
how the web of culture, age and gender of children predisposes them to child marriages
and subsequent negative reproductive health outcomes. Employing snowball and
purposive sampling, fifteen victims of child marriages were selected from four districts
in the Upper East Region of Ghana and interviewed. Transcribed data were analysed
thematically. The findings indicate that most adolescent wives have no say regarding
their choice of partner, the number of children to have, their use of contraceptives and
their access to health facilities during pregnancy, delivery and after delivery, due to
male authority. The findings of this study underscore the need to develop the capacity
and negotiation skills of adolescents for and within marriage. Ultimately, multi-level
community engagements with key stakeholders such as chiefs and religious leaders need
to be deployed to provide knowledge and a re-orientation on