Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Kitgum Diocese prelate, Bishop Wilson Kitara has called upon stakeholders to cater for all the girls who became pregnant during the lockdown ahead of the schools reopening. Bishop Kitara told URN in an interview that there is need to pay attention to the future of the girl child in the aftermath of the lockdown.
He explains that now that East Acholi and the country at large are recording an upsurge in cases of teenage pregnancy, there is a need to plan for continuity of education for the affected girls beyond child birth.
He says the girls affected should be allowed to go through antenatal care, childbirth and postnatal care with ease and thereafter be allowed to return to school. According to Rt. Reverend Kitara, the girls are just victims of circumstances and should not be allowed to carry any blame or burden of their pregnancy but instead blame should be placed on other stakeholders including the church, parents and leaders.
The bishop says that as the leader of Kitgum diocese, he will ensure that all schools under the church leadership welcome these girls and protect them from any kind of stigma.
Rev. Kitara urges the government to join in the advocacy to have the affected teenagers return to school after child birth so that their future and that of their children is secured. He also appeals to non-government organizations to lobby for special programs like skills development for those that will not want to continue with education after delivery.
Thousands of girls in Acholi sub region have become pregnant during the lockdown period with Pader district recording up to 801 cases between March to July.
Pader probation officer David Oketch attributes the upsurge to limited funding for social services adding that the social service department receives between 400,000 to 500,000 Shillings per quarter which is not enough to fund activities like sensitization campaigns, counselling and referrals among others.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday said schools, tertiary colleges and universities will reopen for candidate classes and finalist students on October 15, 2020.