Bundibugyo district has recorded 3, 054 teenage pregnancies in the last twelve months. However, officials in the district health and social welfare department, say that the number of pregnant girls could be higher because most of the cases are not reported to the authorities while some do not report for antenatal services.
The report compiled from 15 different health facilities puts the average teenage pregnancy cases in the district at 28.5 percent of all deliveries. Dr. Christopher Kiyita, the Bundibugyo District Health Officer-DHO, says that the victims are at the risk of developing health complications including fistula as a result of producing before their bodies are fully developed.
Kiyita says the closure of schools has exposed young girls to risky sexual behaviors and lifestyles.
Grace Pamela Adong, the Bundibugyo District Probation Officer, attributes the growing number of teenage pregnancies to limited parental care among families. She adds that girls aged between 13 and 18 years might not return to school because they are either married, breastfeeding, or still be pregnant.
Miria Apio, the child protection officer from World Vision revealed that most parents in the villages still lack information on what they can do once their girls are impregnated. She says that it is time the district comes up with by-laws that will fight the vice including punishing the perpetuates.
The district LC V vice-chairperson, Bwambale, says that Gender-Based Violence-GBV has equally shuttered families leaving many girls vulnerable to abuse. He wants the government to work on the welfare of the police officers to boost their enforcement capacity against such vices.
Harriet Biira, a parent condemns her fellow parents for being irresponsible by allowing their children to be in control of whatever they do without guidance. She also thinks it’s time that the government expands reproductive information to teenagers so that they can be in control of their own health.
Fortunate Kagumahmo a communications officer at Reproductive Health Uganda, however, says cases of increased teenage pregnancies are not entirely due to the lockdown but they have also been facilitated by other factors including poverty. He says RHU studies indicate that most young girls are continuing to get unwanted pregnancies due to a lack of information.
Kagumaho says that RHU has developed an online application using Facebook messenger to help young people and adolescents to access sexual and reproductive health information securely.
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