Gulu has registered up to 4,477 cases of teenage pregnancies within a period of eighteen months. Statistics from Gulu City and district probation departments indicate that the cases were registered between January 2020 and June 2021.
The victims are from the twelve sub-counties constituting Gulu district and the two divisions of Gulu City. A report compiled by Jessica Anena, the Probation Officer of Gulu district indicates that 2,932 teenagers were impregnated in 2020 while 1,545 got pregnant between January and June 2021.
In 2020, Gulu City registered 1,768 cases of teenage pregnancies and another 922 cases this year. Gulu district registered 1,165 in 2020 and another 629 cases in January and June 2021. Anena told URN mid-last week that this is part of the 17,588 pregnancies registered in Gulu within eighteen months.
Anena decried the alarming teenage pregnancies in Gulu, something she attributed to poverty, lack of parental care and guidance, domestic violence, lockdown, moral decadence and closure of learning institutions.
Ballingtone Ongwech, the Gulu District Health Secretary noted with concern the upsurge in teenage pregnancies. He, however, noted that the district and city leadership have resorted to strengthening awareness creation and sensitization against sexual abuse.
Brenda Aromorach, the Gulu District Field Officer for Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) says that the numbers of teenage pregnancies are alarming. She called on stakeholders to join hands to stem such vices, saying that early pregnancies do not only endanger the health of the girl but also subject them to poverty.
Evelyn Lanyero, a child rights activist in Gulu City called for tough penalties against those sexually abusing young girls. She called for sexual education to empower young girls to protect themselves.
The Acholi Paramount Chief, Onen David Acana II and Acholi Muslim District Khadi, Sheikh Musa Khalil have both denounced teenage pregnancies and called for child protection.