Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Health workers in the Acholi Sub Region have asked parents to support pregnant teenage girls to attend all cycles of antenatal care to avoid deaths and birth complications.
According to records obtained from the different health facilities across the region; 2,006 maternal deaths were registered from June last year to August this year.
The victims who are aged between 14 and 17 years were impregnated during the lockdown that was instituted to curb the spread of Covid-19. The medics note that the girls did not attend or complete the antenatal care cycle as required by health service providers.
The same report indicates that 18,243 teenage girls were impregnated in the Acholi Sub Region within the same period. Each of the eight districts recorded an average of 2,280 cases of teenage pregnancies. Of these; 3,831 have safely given birth while 2,006 maternal deaths were registered.
Yoweri Idiba, the Assistant Gulu District Health Officer said that the majority of pregnant teenage girls shun antenatal care or do not complete the cycles due to ignorance, fear, lack of support from guidance, and distances from health facilities among other reasons.
Dr Jackson Amone, the Commissioner of Clinical Services in the Ministry of Health says that routine antenatal care is key for protecting the lives of a pregnant mother and her unborn baby.
He called on parents, caretakers, and all stakeholders to support pregnant teenage girls to access antenatal care services to save their lives and that of their unborn babies.
Amone added that all stakeholders must jointly ensure that teenage pregnancies which are on the rise in the Acholi Sub Region and the country at large are curbed.
Antenatal care is essential for protecting the health of women and their unborn children. Through this form of preventive health care, women can learn from skilled health personnel about healthy behaviours during pregnancy, better understand warning signs during pregnancy and childbirth, and receive social, emotional, and psychological support at this critical time in their lives.
Through antenatal care, pregnant women can also access micronutrient supplementation, treatment for hypertension to prevent eclampsia, as well as immunization against tetanus.
In a move to curb teenage pregnancies in the Acholi Sub Region, Ambrose Olaa the Prime Minister for the Acholi Cultural Institution (Ker Kwaro Acholi) says that they received 22 Million Shillings from the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development to support and boost sensitization and awareness creation on the dangers and how to combat teenage pregnancies in the Acholi Sub Region.