According to statistics from January to December 2020 from the office of the District Community Development Officer, 2,908 girls below 17 years visited a hospital for antenatal care since the closure of schools in March.
Kwania District leaders are worried that half of the female students
in the district may not resume school due to pregnancy.
Last week, the government announced the reopening of schools a year after they were
closed following the outbreak of covid-19.
However, in Kwania, the leaders have raised concern that about 2,908 learners may
not return to school.
According to statistics from January to December 2020 from the
office of the District Community Development Officer, 2,908 girls below 17 years
visited a hospital for antenatal care since the closure of schools in March.
Out of 2,908 cases of teenage pregnancy, Aduku Town Council
registered 599, Chawente Sub County 578, Abongomola 563, Nambieso 553, Inomo
423 and Aduku Sub County registered 192.
Leonard Agum, the district Community Development Officer says the
cases of child marriages and teenage pregnancies have skyrocketed.
“We had to liaise with hospitals and private clinics to collect
the data of children under the age of 19 who had come for their first antenatal
visit. What we found is worrying. I don’t know if schools will have female
students when they resume operations,” he said.
Research has shown that fear of retribution from the local
community has kept most cases of teenage pregnancies and early marriages under reported as police officers fear making arrests and hospitals fear reporting
Annet Atim, the Secretary Community based services at Kwania
district local government says in Lango most parents still view girls
commercially as bride price, which has undermined the district’s best effort to
curb teenage pregnancies and early marriages.
Moses Opio, the Kwania District Probation Officer attributed the
increase of these cases to the negligence of parents whom he said have failed
to closely monitor their children.
He asked the public to always report the perpetrators of child
rights abuses to police and also tasked parents to take up the responsibility
of guiding and nurturing their children.