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Over 12000 Teenagers Impregnated in Mbale, Busia and Butaleja in Six Months

In Butaleja, over 2022 teenage pregnancies were registered between June and August mainly in Nabiganda town council, Nawanjofu, Busaba and Busabi sub-counties.
Margret Kisakye

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Local leaders in Mbale, Busia and Butaleja district are alarmed over the high number of teenage mothers. The three districts have registered 12, 185 cases of teenage mothers within six months.

Local leaders blame the vice on the prolonged closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed minors to sexual abuse. Records from Mbale shows that cases of teenage pregnancies increased from 400 cases in 2020 to 6000 in 2021.

The most affected are Busiu and Nakaloke town councils, Bumboi and Bufumbo sub-counties, Industrial city and Northern divisions. The situation is not any different in the neighbouring district, which has registered 4,163 cases of teenage pregnancies.  

The cases were registered from the 20 sub-counties across the district. The most affected are Western division, Buteba, Busitema, Buhehe, Lunyo and Majanji sub-counties. In Butaleja, over 2022 teenage pregnancies were registered between June and August mainly in Nabiganda town council, Nawanjofu, Busaba and Busabi sub-counties.

 

Margret Kisakye, the Mbale district statistician, says that 22 out of every 100 mothers who seek antenatal services in health facilities are teenagers.   

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Dr. Jonathan Wangisi, the Mbale District Health Officer, the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the closure of schools has worsened the incidents of early pregnancies. He says that many parents have shunned their responsibility of taking care of their children, which has exposed young girls to sexual exploitation.

 

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Patrick Mwesigye, the executive Director Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum has urged the leaders to follow up on the culprits. He says that there is a need to involve the youth groups, religious leaders and police if teenage pregnancies are to be stopped.

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Carolyne Balwanaki, the Busia district bio-statistician, says that more than 50 percent of the 4163 teenage mothers are between 14 and15 years. She attributes the high cases to poverty level and activities like gold mining, fishing and cross border trade. 

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Dickson Wamayina, the Busia District Health Inspector says that they are advising girls who cannot abstain to use family planning methods.  He, however, says they face a challenge of sensitizing the girls dues to the lack of youth-friendly corners in health facilities.

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Angela Erumbi, a registered midwife attached to Masafu general hospital, says that at least 60 teenage mothers attend antenatal care at the facility every month.    

Annah Mary Wabwire, the Busia district Vice LC V chairperson, says that they have plans to engage youths in some government programs and provide them more support from development partners to do businesses.

Kassim Magombe, the Butaleja District Community Development Officer blames the vice the lockdown, poverty and poor parenting.

   

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Ivan Kaibo, the Director of Little Bit of Hope, a non-government organization based in Butaleja and Patience Ashemeire, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer from the Eastern African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women- EASSI say they have established a committee comprising youth representatives and technical officers from the districts to help fight the vice through raising community awareness.

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Joyce Nambozo, the  Chief Administrative Officer of Butaleja, says raising cases of Gender-Based Violence have exposed children to careless movements resulting in premature sexual practices.        

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