The King (Omukama) of Tooro Kingdom, Oyo Nyimba Rukidi IV has warned that Uganda’s future could be lost to teenage pregnancies, asking government and partners to fast track interventions to end the vice.
He made the remarks while officiating at the Inter-Generational Dialogue held at Serena hotel today. The dialogue was organized by Reach A Hand Uganda (RAHU) and its partners.
Oyo, who was accompanied by the Omuhikirwa (Prime Minister) Bernard Tungakwo Ateenyi, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Owek. Henry Basaliza Araali, the Minister for Tourism Owek. Adyeeri Joan Kantu and the Minister for Information Owek, Charles Mwanguhya, said that whenever a teenager or an adolescent falls victim to early pregnancy, Uganda loses a future doctor, lawyer, engineer and religious leader.
He emphasized that it was time the government drafted and implemented policies that would among other things address factors that push young girls into becoming child mothers.
“The statistics of pregnancy in Uganda are frightening, this situation is unacceptable and we must immediately take urgent and accelerated action to end this silent epidemic. The rise in teenage pregnancies is due to lack of right information in regard to young people’s Sexuality Reproduction and Health Rights, limited education, gender-based violence, harmful traditional practices and parenting challenges,” he said.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)’s recent study on Early and Unintended Pregnancies (EUP) in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region shows that three out of seven girls aged 15 to 19 years have given birth or have ever been pregnant.
Uganda Police Force- UPF crime records of last year show that 201 girls were defiled by people living with HIV in 2018, 115 were defiled by guardians, ninety-five pupils were defiled by their teachers, 90 secondary school students by teachers, 90 girls with disabilities were defiled and 84 girls by their biological parents.
UNESCO’s coordinator, Charles Draecabo, said there can never be progress when a child delivers at an early age.
He asked all leaders and parents to join hands in securing the future of young people by ensuring they stay in school.
By Drake Nyamugabwa