The Woman MP for Mbarara City, Hon. Atukwasa Rita Bwahika has challenged the government and other stakeholders to put up special programs and schools for teenage pregnancy victims to attain education beyond the usual skilling interventions – or learning that is devoid of knowledge.

Hon. Rita, while addressing the 8th conference in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child held in Biharwe Mbarara city on Friday, October 7, 2022, expressed concern over less attention given to pressing issues affecting young people, teenage pregnancy victims and women.

Ahead of 10th commemoration of International Day of the Girl Child slated for Tuesday, 11th October 2022 under the theme, “Our time is now – our rights, our future”, she appreciated the fact that the government has put in place policies for these girls to go back to school, but wondered how a girl goes back to school with baby. She further recommended that the government and stakeholders should apply the approach that enabled Northern Uganda insurgency victims to attain education through special programs and schools despite conditions experienced by the victims.

“Out of COVID-19, Uganda got another epidemic of teen pregnancies which are very…very many, they are huge and they have a life to lead. Uganda had registered a lot of success to do with women and girls in education but with these numbers we’ve gone back behind. We have skilled them, yes…soap,baking….but some dream to be doctors, lawyers, journalists etc. So it’s beyond just the skill. They need more packages like scholarships…and I call upon stakeholders to come and support government”, she stressed.

On the same event organized by Coalition on Girls’ Empowerment and other organizations; teenage pregnancy victims, women, girls and others were trained in self-confidence and esteem, Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights-SRHR issues, making liquid soap and reusable sanitary pads and other skills. They were also advised to participate in income generating activities and ensure healthy lifestyles.

The Woman MP for Mbarara City, Hon. Atukwasa Rita Bwahika donated materials like cooking oil to be used in baking.

COVID-19 LOCKDOWN TEENAGE PREGNANCY MAGNITUDE. United Nations Population Fund-UNFP 2021 statistics confirm that Uganda registered at least 644,955 teenage pregnancies in 2 years during the COVID-19 lockdown, 5 times higher than coronavirus positive cases. About 250 children below 15 years impregnated monthly 1 in 4 girls in Uganda aged 15-19 – forming 25% – have had a child. 34% of Ugandan girls are married by 18 years and 28% maternal deaths occur among young girls of 15-25 yrs. Young people are responsible for the spread of HIV 34% annually. In 2021, about 31,566 teenage girls got pregnant monthly across Uganda – equivalent to 1,052 daily and about 250 children below 15 years got pregnant monthly.

MAY & JUNE 2022 INVESTIGATIONS CONDUCTED BY RISE NEWS UGANDA confirm that in Western Uganda, Kasese district which was the 3rd in registering high number of teenage pregnancies nationwide, registered 22,548 cases in 2019, 20 & 21. A 16-year old s.1 student at Hima Progressive High School gave birth, but could breastfeed the baby in the morning, hide the baby in the bush and breastfeed again in the evening until authorities realized this.

In other areas; Isingiro district 12,409 teenage preganancy cases, Kyegegwa 12,737, Kamwenge 8,328, Ntungamo 7,694, Mbarara City & District 6,489, Ibanda 4,733, Sheema 2,583, Rwampara 1,808, Kiruhura 3,525, Kazo 3,535, among other cases registered between 2019 & 21 in different districts across Uganda.

RISE NEWS UGANDA IN-DEPTH STORY https://risenewsug.com/2022/07/09/ugandas-teenage-pregnancy-pandemic/






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