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Child mothers in Luweero abandoned during lockdown

Lockdown is likely to end with many teenage pregnancies

Luweero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | At least 28 teenage girls in Luweero district are stranded with children and pregnancies after they were neglected by men during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The girls aged between 14-17 years are from sub-counties of Kamira, Bamunanika, Wobulenzi, Luweero and Makulubita. Seven are stuck with children while 21 are pregnant.

A 15-year-old girl from Kizito zone in Luweero town gave birth to twins five months ago.

She says that she was married off to a man who offered her shelter after her family disintegrated and mother re-married.

However, the man abandoned her in the rented room during COVID-19 lockdown leaving her stranded with the twins.

Another 16-year-old girl says that she is stuck with an eight-months pregnancy after the man abandoned her in the house during the lockdown. She says that she relocated to friends but has no medical and other support to look after the pregnancy.

Both girls had dropped out of schools and later got casual jobs where they were impregnated.

The pregnant teenagers and child mothers have since appealed to Luweero District Probation Office and Child and Family Protection Unit (CFPU) of police seeking for support.

Joyce Namigadde, the Luweero District Probation Officer explains that since the COVID-19 lockdown started, at least 28 cases have been reported but teenagers are interested to pursue the husbands on only neglect cases rather than defilement.

Namigadde adds that the whereabouts of the men is unknown. She however says that with support from unit they have resolved to resettle the teenagers to care homes as police hunt for the husbands.

She says that they are overwhelmed with the cases and inadequate resources to respond to the cases during COVID-19 lockdown.

The officers in- charge of Luweero Child and Family Protection Unit (CFPU) of police declined to comment on the cases.

Police in Luweero has so far registered 64 defilement cases from January to June 30th, 2020. It is also believed many others are defiled but only report after they have been neglected or before giving birth.

There are fears that cases of child mothers are likely to increase as children stay home over COVID-19 lockdown.

According to the 2016 Uganda Demographic Health Survey report, teenage pregnancies increased to 25% in the country hence recording the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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