teenage pregnancies

Report: 7,398 teenage pregnancies recorded in three months in Lango

(Last Updated On: 15 July 2023)

By Acipa Doreen

Lira, July 2, 2023: A new report on teenage pregnancies in Lango sub-region is a shocker with Oyam district taking the lead. Lira district has the least figures.

David Okeng, the Social Behavior Change (SBC) project coordinator at Communication for Development Foundation Uganda (CDFU), presented the report last month.

In the report he read at Mayov Hotel in Apac town on June 16, 2023, Okeng said 2,633 teenage pregnancies were recorded in January, 2,283 in February and 2,482 in March 2023.

The report reveals that Oyam district leads in Lango sub-region with the highest rate of teenage pregnancies at 1,441 within the period of three months: January to March 2023.

Alebtong district is second with 934, Apac with 845, Kole 822, Dokolo 813, Kwania 617; Lira City with 577, Amolatar 481, Otuke 455 and Lira district the least with 433 teenage pregnancies.


Okeng revealed that the statistics were generated from the antenatal care registries from different health centres across Lango sub-region, adding that teenage pregnancies are on the rise because young girls lack knowledge and access to reproductive health services.

“Both youth and parents are aware of reproductive health rights but they do not know the rightful information to be shared.”

Okeng called upon the cultural and religious leaders to rise and join hands to end teenage pregnancies in Lango. “I have shared this report with cultural institutions and religious leaders to join hands in reducing the rate of teenage pregnancies,” he said.

CDFU is a Non-Governmental Organization founded in 2002 to implement social and behavioural change programs focusing on health development, reproductive health, adolescent reproductive health and rights; maternal and child health, nutrition, HIV and AIDS, water and sanitation; hygiene and gender.

oyam
Advertisement

CDFU in partnership with Plan International Uganda is implementing a four-year project (2022-2025) dubbed ‘I Decide under My Body My Future program’ in the districts of Lira, Alebtong, Kole, Kwania, Apac and Lira City with the overall goal to ensure children, adolescent and youth in all their diversity have full control over their body and future in health, safe and supportive environment.

SUPPORT TND News for solution journalism and drive to reduce teenage pregnancies in Lango and Acholi. To DONATE, visit HERE. 


James Robert Ajal, the prime minister of Lango Cultural Foundation under the Leadership of His Highness Mzee Yosam Odur Ebii, says the number is high because many of the underaged girls are illegally married at the ages of 14-17.

He says that these girls should be asked if they are married or not as they go for antenatal care services.

Also read: Over 15,094 teenage pregnancies recorded in Lira district in two years – data shows

“This is time police needs to be engaged to trace the teenage girls who are silently married off by their parents,” premier minister Ajal said.

The awareness has been done enough and it has reached where it should reach, actions need to be taken, according to Ajal. He revealed that sometimes as the clan heads, they also realize when a young girl has given birth.

Meanwhile, George Ojwang Opota, the prime minister for Tekwaro Lango under the leadership of Eng. Moses Michael Odongo Okune says Lango started realizing the high rate of teenage pregnancies during the Lords Resistant Army (LRA) insurgency when the people of Lango were in the camps.

According to Ojwang, teenage pregnancies are high because there is a fault from cultural, religious and government leaders regarding how children used to be raised. “Brothers used to protect their sisters but right now it is not happening,” Opota added.

Opota said that cultural leaders have a greater role to play in reducing teenage pregnancies compared to religious leaders whose work is just to preach the gospel and guide, adding that the government leaders only wait to take action and apprehend the wrongdoers.

He continued that poverty is greatly contributing to teenage pregnancies where parents cannot afford the basic needs of their girl children. “But as a cultural institution, we are totally against what is happening.” He added that cultural leaders always make pronouncements on what should be done but the implementation becomes very poor.

Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Lango John Charles Odur Kami says there is a lot of laxity in the laws which are increasing the rate of teenage pregnancies. He said that parents (mostly male) have failed in their roles of parental care and giving advice to their children.

“Children are growing at large and the society has fallen apart and it is collapsing in our presence, in our time and our hands because we are not showing responsibility to give care, guidance and protection to the young girls,” Odur said.

He said even teachers have changed the young girls into their women and yet they are the ones to guide them, something Odur says was not the case in the past.

Boniface Okot, the youth Member of Parliament for Northern Uganda tells TND News the increase in teenage pregnancies is indicative of a lot of factors such as idleness during the Covid-19 lockdown which brought an environment for the young people to engage in very dangerous sexual practices.

In a bid to offer the ultimate solution, Okot urges families to take the responsibly of offering informal and life-skill education to their children because the smallest unit of the country is the family where the first knowledge is supposed to come from.

“The abandonment of parenting by the parents in the community is leaving the community in limbo,” the youth MP said.

Okot called upon parents to stop looking at a girl child as a source of wealth, but as prices and an investment for the family for the future according to the way things and time have changed in the contemporary world.

The youth MP urges women who have achieved in life, in business or high level of leadership life to have a deliberate mentorship program for young girls as part of their cooperate social responsibilities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *