Kabale District Grapples with Over 1300 Teenage Pregnancies Annually

KABALE: The Kabale District Health Officer Dr. Gilbert Arinaitwe Mateeka has revealed Over 1300 cases of Teenage Pregnancies are being recorded in the District every year.

He made the report yesterday during a stakeholder’s dialogue organized by the Local Sustainable Communities Organization –LOSCO at White Horse Inn Kabale, to discuss Sexual Reproductive Health Issues in the District.

The report read out by Dr. Gilbert Mateeka indicated that Kabale District registered 1,346 teenage pregnancies in 2020, 1,479 cases in 2021 and 1,478 cases in 2022.

He said there’s also a large number of undocumented cases that are not included in the report because the victims never seek professional medical assistance.

The D.H.O explained that the teenage pregnancies are usually unwanted and unprepared for, resulting in both health and psychological effects on the lives of the victims.

The effects include complications during pregnancy and at the time of delivery, while some teens end up in abortion and risks that come along.

He further noted that the biggest percentage of the victims end up dropping out of School, bringing their education career and life dreams to an end.

The Kabale District Senior Health Educator, Dr. Alfred Besigensi and the Executive Director of Kigezi Women in Development (KWID), Florence Tumuheirwe, attributed the problem to insufficient sexuality education.

They argued that teenagers engage in sex at an early stage because they do not fully understand the consequences involved, and how to avoid them.

The Kabale Deputy Resident Commissioner, Ronald Bakak, noted that Uganda was still struggling with unethical law enforcement officers especially in the Police, who sometimes connive with parents to negotiate with suspects of defilement cases.

Mr. Bakaki said that in the end, some cases are never taken to courts of laws, adding that his office would harshly deal with such Police Officers to protect the girl child in Kabale.

The Director of Local Sustainable Communities Organization (LOSCO), Albert Taremwa said the dialogue organized in partnership with Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) was aimed at raising awareness to mitigate maternal mortality, improve and promote access to sexual reproductive health and rights in the Kabale district.

The latest Uganda Bureau of Statistics UBOS report states that the National Teenage Pregnancy rate is at 25%, further indicating that one out of four (1/4) Ugandan women has given birth by the age of 18.Dr Charles Olaro, the director for curative services at the Health ministry recently revealed that government is soon going to allow girls as young as 15 years to access contraceptive services, a policy he argues, will reduce early pregnancies.Dr. Olaro noted that priority will be given to “out-of-school” teenagers and young adults.

This Policy will be subject to Cabinet and Parliament’s approval, but the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has already expressed discontentment with the idea.While Chairing plenary on Tuesday, Tayebwa asked Government not to approve the Policy that is reportedly still at ministerial level.

Tayebwa’s statements were in agreement with Amuru District Woman Mp Lucy Akello who argued that the policy would legitimize fornication in teenagers.