Kabale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Persistent high rates of teenage pregnancies in Kabale district continue baffling the leaders.
Monica Muhumuza Nzeirwe, Kabale District Probation Officer revealed to our reporter on Friday afternoon that her office recorded 1,867 cases of girls aged under 18 who were defiled and made pregnant between March 2020-March 2021.
Muhumuza says that however much she has not finalized compiling data from April to date, her office has registered 600 cases of teenage pregnancies in the last two months. This makes the total number of cases at least 2,467.
Muhumuza says that the cases include a 14-year-old girl from Kitooma parish, Rubaya sub-county who completed primary seven and was chased from home after it was discovered by her parents that she is pregnant. Muhumuza says that because the minor was raped by two men who later took off, and she cannot who is the cause of her pregnancy. Muhumuza says that the current level of cases had never happened before in Kabale district.
According to Muhumuza, the increase of cases resulted from redundancy that children especially girl child experienced during Covid-19 lockdown. She says that because there was no academic pressure, most girl children assumed they were mature enough and started getting involved in sexual acts.
Mumumuza however says that the cases are putting the district in shame.
Gordon Manzi, Kabale District Senior Assistant Secretary says that many teenage pregnancies are hurting education with more school dropouts being registered. He also says that this is leading to an increase in domestic violence where parents get discouraged and chase the affected girls from home.
In September 2020, Alfred Besigensi, Kabale District Health Officer revealed to our reporter that his office had registered 2,618 cases of teenage pregnancies from January to July 2020, according to maternal statistics he had recorded from government and private health units across the district.
Martin Kasagara Kiiza, the Executive Director of the National Children Authority (NCA), a department under the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development responsible for monitoring the progress of all investigations and criminal proceedings relating to children, says that due to increase of cases, they have embarked on laying strategies with media to educate the masses about the dangers of early pregnancies and how they can be avoided.
Kasagara also says that they are liaising with district officials to make sure that parents get enough sensitization on how to protect their children from sexual abuses.
He also says that with the guidance of the National Child Policy which was launched last year, they are in the process of talking to parents of the affected girl children to have them forgiven and convinced to get back to school.