Sheema, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Sheema district authorities have registered a record 1,014 teen pregnancies in 18 months.
Annet Kyomuhendo, the District Probation Officer says for the year 2020, they registered 408 girls and for 2021, they have registered 606 girls and these are between the ages of 13 and 19 years.
She says the data is collected from the district bio-statistician who collects gets it from health centers, noting that the number given is for those that attended antenatal care.
However, Kyomuhendo says they are worried the number could be higher than this considering that some don’t go for antenatal checkups.
Kyomuhendo says on the positive side, the number of those that have given birth at health centres is also increasing, meaning at least they are delivering safely.
Kyomuhendo says much as the focus is put on the girls, also the boy child is affected because they are also infected with HIV/AIDS, noting that about 55 teen children both boys and girls were found HIV positive.
She blames this on an increase in Gender-based Violence.
Edrida Kebaraza, the Maternal and Child Health Officer Sheema district faults parents for not being responsible in the upbringing of their children, noting that the challenges a child goes through also affect the parent.
She encourages parents of pregnant children to give them company to health centres for an antenatal checkup.
Jolly Natukunda, headteacher Kashaka girls school says that increased poverty at household levels has driven girls into acts of sex, as they lack basic needs.
She agrees that teen pregnancies have been around but were very low before, noting that since the closure of schools, the numbers have shot high, hence their agitating for schools opening.