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Amuru residents blame teenage pregnancies on domestic violence

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents of Amuru district have attributed the high cases of teenage pregnancies in the district to domestic violence.

Statistics from the Human Rights Focus indicate that 4,062 young girls were impregnated in Acholi sub region since the Covid-19 lockdown in March up to mid-August 2020.

Lamwo district topped with 1,000 cases followed by Pader with 920, Agago 730, Nwoya 640 and Amuru 620 cases while Gulu registered 150.

But authorities and parents in Amuru have blamed the high numbers in the district to poverty that hit the area due to the COVID-19 lockdown leading to increasing cases of domestic violence.

Jacqueline Akello, a resident of Kigole village in Amuru town council says that many young girls have deserted their parents home and opted for early marriages due to recurrent domestic violence resulting from economic hardship being experienced due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Margaret Arach, a parent pointed out that many parents have become too arrogant on their children for fears of responsibilities, something which has forced many young girls to run after men and ending up getting pregnant.

Agnes Ocwee says that the closure of schools exposed girls to hardships at home such as domestic violence, inadequate feeding and basic needs something which forced them out of their parents home and opting for marriages.

Geoffrey Ayella Balmoi, the Kigole local chairperson disclosed that hundreds of young girls aged between twelve and fifteen have been impregnated in his area during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

He appealed that there is need for massive sensitization and campaign against teenage pregnancies in Acholi sub-region.

Dominic Otto, the Amuru district inspector of schools on the other hand faulted parents for failing to guide the girls on the dangers of early pregnancies and marriage.

Charles Okot Lwanga, a nursing assistant at Otwee health centre III disclosed that 33% of pregnant mothers who sought antenatal care at the health facility from April to August this year were girls between fourteen and sixteen years.

Charles Oringa, the in-charge of Otwee health centre III says that they have constituted a group of youth and trained them to sensitize their colleagues on the dangers of early pregnancies, marriages and how to embrace family planning or practice protected sex.

The Police Annual Crime Report of 2019 presented in April this year indicates that 13,693 cases of domestic violence were reported.

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