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Kumi district unable to account for 700 teen pregnancies

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kumi district authorities are struggling to trace the whereabouts of more than 700 girls who conceived during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Sr. Suzan Okwakol, the Assistant District Health Officer who doubles as the in charge of Maternal and Child Health in Kumi says they registered more than 1,900 teenage pregnancies between January and September 2020 at different heath facilities across the district.

She however notes that only 1,200 girls have since been able to return to the health facilities for either more antenatal visits or deliveries leaving 700 girls unaccounted for.

Sr. Okwakol wonders whether the young mothers resorted to abortions or delivered in their homes.

Lawrence Okello, the Atutur sub county LC III chairperson says most of the cases of teenage pregnancies have been silenced by parents whom he claims are very comfortable with the situation.

He revealed that only 12 cases of defilement have been reported to police in the sub county which has recorded more than 100 teenage pregnancies.

Okello notes that whenever he visits homes where girls are reported to have been defiled, parents and their expectant daughters sometimes turn hostile.

Almost all the districts in Teso sub region have registered a surge in teenage pregnancies in the last six months of lockdown.

The police annual report of 2019 indicates that East Kyoga, which comprises ten districts of Teso sub region recorded the highest number of defilement cases with 945, followed by Elgon with 922 cases.

However, statistics for the last six months of country’s lockdown, show that cases have more than tripled in Teso.

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