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3855 Teenage Pregnancies Registered in Greater Luwero

Zenar Nasur, the Luweero District Education Secretary, says most of the teenagers were lured into sex after being left alone at home by their parents. She explains that most of the affected girls live with their grandparents and guardians who exercise little control over them, which gives them leeway to engage in irresponsible sexual behavior with their peers or male adults.

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At least 3855 teenage pregnancies have been registered in Greater Luwero districts since schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Schools closed in March this year as part of the measures announced by the Health Ministry to disrupt the spread of the coronavirus disease. 

Learners in candidate classes are scheduled to resume their second term studies tomorrow after spending more than six months at home. However, information from greater Luwero districts comprising Luwero, Nakasongola and Nakaseke show that 3855 girls of school-going age are pregnant.  

According to the breakdown, Luwero district has the highest number of teenage pregnancies with 2082 cases followed by Nakasongola with 922 cases and Nakeseke with 851 cases. Most of the teenagers reportedly conceived between March and August, 2020 during the nationwide lockdown. 

The statistics were compiled from Probation Officers who obtained it from health centers in their respective districts. Zenar Nasur, the Luweero District Education Secretary, says most of the teenagers were lured into sex after being left alone at home by their parents.  

She explains that most of the affected girls live with their grandparents and guardians who exercise little control over them, which gives them leeway to engage in irresponsible sexual behaviour with their peers or male adults.

According to Nasur, many teenagers are likely to drop out of school because of stigma while some parents may opt not to support their children to return to school because of the pregnancies. 

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Several expectant teenagers our reporter found seeking antenatal services at Luwero hospital declined to be interviewed. Joseph Mugabe, a resident of Luwero town council, says that some pregnancies were a result of defilement, which is rampant in the area. 

In Nakaseke,   the District Education Officer, Stephen Batanudde has asked learners with pregnancies to return to school since the government policy protects them. Nakaseke district is known for early marriages. Some of the expectant teenagers could have already settled for marriage.  

At least 123 candidates failed to turn up for their Primary Leaving Examinations last year because of early pregnancies and marriage. Nakasongola Senior Probation Officer, Irene Ssanyu, says most of the teenagers were impregnated by motorists, relatives and other community members.

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At least five million Ugandan children have dropped out of school before completing their Primary Education Cycle in the past 20 years across the country, according to Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) and Education and Sports Sector Annual Performance Reports. 

Teenage pregnancies and poverty rank top among the causes of school dropout.

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