Teenage pregnancy has devastating consequences

Rape cases

On Wednesday morning Center for Health, Human rights and Development held a Presser at Imperial Royal Hotel on the motion for a resolution of parliament urging government to establish and implement policies and strengthen existing laws to stop teenage pregnancies in Uganda

Hon Bukenya Micheal in the center with Center for Health, Human rights and Development advocates and teenage mother posing for a photo

According to the statistics of Ministry of Health, the fertility rate in teenage pregnancies has increased from 24% in 2011 to 25% in 2016 among women aged 15-19 years. More than 600,000 teenagers become pregnant annually with 3 in 10 teenagers becoming pregnant before the age of 20 and 10%-40% of young girls having unintended pregnancies

Well, the main causes of early pregnancies are very clear and nothing much has been done to eliminate or reduce them like poverty, Rape and defilement, Peer pressure that leads to curiosity where by young girls want to find out what happens in the adult world, limited access to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights and mainly limited access to contraceptives due to fear of what the public will say or do when they come to know that such a young girl is taking contraceptives, limited teenage friendly services at health facilities and lastly but not least, there is limited health facilities that offer family planning services to young people

``Family planning access and use will reinforce people’s rights to determine when to have children, this applies even to young people.
We can only achieve this through investment in family planning and access to Sexual Reproductive Health Rights
‘ ~ Kukundakwe Anna said while addressing media

Kukundakwe Anna speaking at the press conference

Yes family planning should be promoted among young girls basing on the fact that very many young girls between the ages of 13-19 (adolescents) engage themselves into sexual intercourse at a tender age and most the end up becoming pregnant and the results to dropping out of school, suffering and sometimes death due to a number of complication factors

During press conference, a young girl shared her hurting story. “I got pregnant when was in school, I knew nothing, if we were only oriented about sexuality maybe I wouldn’t be in this state, teenage pregnancy is a reality!” Her names withheld

In most cases, the young mothers do not visit health facilities for antenatal or post natal care services and this has led to increased number of infant mortality rate and other pregnancy related complications. Sometimes disabilities may occur before, during/after birth and these may include severe bleeding, fistula, induced abortions, uterine rapture among others that may even cause death of both the mother and the child

Therefore there is need to introduce family planning among teenagers in order to avoid the above mentioned causes and results of early pregnancies

We are moving a motion/resolution on the floor of parliament urging government to establish and implement policies and strengthen existing laws to stop teenage pregnancies, family planning and SRHR interventions in Uganda – Hon Bukenya Micheal Chair of the parliamentary health committee said during the press conference

The motion acknowledges that absence of a robust stream lined government strategy to establish and implement National policies, strategies and programmes on reproductive health and sexuality education to eradicate teen pregnancies as well as weak relevant laws against cultural practices that encourage child marriages, have greatly contributed to the challenge of teenage pregnancy. ~ Hon Bukenya Micheal added

Hon Bukenya Micheal addressing the media at Imperial Royal Hotel

Family planning helps in many ways like; reducing on the number of school drop outs, reducing on the number of unwanted pregnancy cases, reducing on the number of teenage child mother death rates, reducing on the cases of induced of forced abortions that sometimes lead to death, reducing on infant mortality rate, reducing on the number of babies on streets whose parents can’t be traced and it will reduce on cases of domestic violence that normally come about when the youngest daughter gets pregnant and parents start to blame each other

However, family planning has its own consequences that it will come along with; Severe bleeding, vomiting or body weakness that may even force them to miss school for some days basing on how the young girls bodies will react to different family planning methods

As a country, we need to create awareness and bring to light policy makers, Government officials on the dangers of teenage pregnancy and the need of family planning services

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Frank Byaruhanga is a human rights activist with years of experience in community dialogues, digital communication, advocacy and digital campaigns. He specializes in Media Relation Work, Management and Training with sufficient knowledge in Governance, Accountability, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, Youth-led research, Content developer, Creative Activism, Social Media Management and documentary photography.

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