Tororo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | More than 47,000 teenage girls in the Bukedi sub-region have been impregnated during the two years in the country.
Statistics from the National Population Council indicate that Bukedi registered an increase in the number of teenage pregnancies from 23,829 in 2019 to 25,066 in 2020 and 22,944 in the months between January and October 2021.
The statistics also indicate that Tororo, Busia, and Pallisa have had the highest numbers of teenage pregnancies with 11480, 7558, and 7173 cases respectively. They are followed by Butaleja which registered 6,955 cases, Budaka 6515 while Kibuku registered 5498 and Butebo registered 2831 cases in the two years.
Dr. Betty Kyandondo, the Director of Family Health National Population Council noted that the situation in the Bukedi sub-region is appalling as compared to national figures. She said from 2018, the country has been, registering over 350,000 cases of teenage pregnancy noting that this year has been worse where at least 1 out of every four pregnancies is a teenager.
Tororo District Resident Commissioner Nixon Owole, says that the high numbers should be an awakening call to all the stakeholders including government, parents, and civil society organizations to intensify the fight against the vice.
Eric Okello, the team leader of Tororo District Youth Advocacy Network said that the county’s laws like the penal code Act and the Children’s act don’t address the challenges of teenage marriage.
He said that it is time districts come up with by-laws that will fight the vice including punishing anyone who perpetuates the teenage marriages.
Rev. George Wycliffe Wandera said that the parents have neglected their roles of raising their children adding that the lockdown accelerated the already existing problem.
In Tororo and Busia districts, parents attribute teenage pregnancy to truck drivers. They argue that the delay in clearing trucks at customs gives them a leeway to lure their children into sexual acts.
Badru Din Khawkha, the LCI Chairperson Amagoro B village in Malaba Town Council in Tororo district blamed parents who employ their young daughters in restaurants and markets.
Falidha Nansubuga, who operates a restaurant at Malaba border customs blamed the vice on the covid-19 that led to the closure of schools.