Kabale Records Over 1300 Teenage Pregnancies Annually

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KABALE – The Kabale District Health Officer, Dr. Gilbert Arinaitwe Mateeka has disclosed that over 1300 cases of teenage pregnancies are reported annually in the district.

This revelation took place yesterday during a stakeholder’s dialogue organized by the Local Sustainable Communities Organization (LOSCO) at White Horse Inn Kabale, focusing on Sexual Reproductive Health Issues in the District.

According to Dr. Mateeka’s report, Kabale District documented 1,346 teenage pregnancies in 2020, 1,479 cases in 2021, and 1,478 cases in 2022. Additionally, there are likely numerous undocumented cases, as victims often don’t seek professional medical assistance.

The District Health Officer emphasized that these teenage pregnancies bring about unwanted and unprepared situations, leading to health and psychological consequences.

Complications during pregnancy, delivery, abortions, and associated risks are among the challenges faced by the victims. Moreover, a significant percentage of teenagers end up discontinuing their education, abruptly halting their career and life aspirations.

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CUE IN MATEEKA…..ON CASES….ENG//

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

They argued that teenagers engage in early sexual activities due to a lack of understanding about the consequences and ways to prevent them.

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Ronald Bakak, the Kabale Deputy Resident Commissioner, highlighted concerns about unethical law enforcement officers, particularly in the Police force.

Some officers allegedly collaborate with parents to negotiate defilement cases, resulting in cases not reaching the courts. Bakak pledged to address such issues to protect the girl child in Kabale.

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Kabale DRDC Ronald Bakak

Albert Taremwa, the Director of LOSCO, mentioned that the dialogue, organized in collaboration with the Center for Health, Human Rights, and Development (CEHURD), aimed to raise awareness to mitigate maternal mortality and enhance access to sexual reproductive health and rights in Kabale District.

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The latest Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) report indicates a national teenage pregnancy rate of 25%, meaning one in four Ugandan women gives birth by the age of 18. Dr. Charles Olaro, the director for curative services at the Health Ministry, revealed a potential government policy to allow girls as young as 15 years access to contraceptive services.

However, this policy is pending approval from Cabinet and Parliament, with Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa expressing discontent during a recent plenary session, fearing it might legitimize fornication in teenagers, a sentiment echoed by MP Lucy Akello.

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