Source: The Rwenzori Times

Woman MP for Mitoma District, Hon Jovah Kamateka, last week moved a motion for resolution of Parliament urging government to develop and enforce policies and strategies to protect girls against teenage pregnancy and child marriages.

The legislator is pushing for government intervention in laying strategies and putting in place measures to address the rising cases of teenage pregnancies both during and post the Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing journalists yesterday, Hon Kamateka noted that the Covid-19 pandemic led to the closure of most sectors of the economy including academic and tertiary institutions in 2020 which hitherto productively engaged and acted as productive structures for the girl child against teenage pregnancy and child marriage.

According to her, Uganda has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Sub-Saharan Africa with over 25% pregnancies among teenagers registered every year.

She revealed that, as per available statistics, before the covid-19 pandemic, 36% of women aged 19 to 22 years were reported to have been married off before the age of 18 and one in every ten girls is married off before the age of 15 years with districts like Rakai, Bukomansimbi, Gomba, Luwero, Mityana,  Mubende among others reporting 128, 167, 196, 12944,3200 and 1072 cases respectively.

“As a result of the lockdown and redundancy in homes, many sexual violations emanated from within the family setting itself, with reports indicating that sexual abuse was the third most highest form of child abuse contributing 20.1% of which 9% of the victims were girls and 17% of the perpetrators were family members,” Kamateka highlighted.

Mr. Moses Ntenga, the Founder and Director of Joy for Children, an NGO that advocates both at the grassroots and on a national level for child rights and seeks to end violence against children through capacity building, activism, psycho-social and legal assistance, requested government to provide adequate resources to the institutions of the police, local councils and probation officers to enable them perform their roles in protecting girls against teenage pregnancy and early marriage.

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