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1,500 teenagers Pregnant, Married Off In Kwania

Moses Opio, the Kwania District Probation Officer says, of all these cases reported to different health facilities in the district, Abongomola Sub County is leading with 321 cases, followed by Aduku Town Council 318 cases, Nambieso 298, Chawente Sub County registered 286 cases, Inomo 218 and Aduku Sub County 38 cases respectively.
A midwife attending to a 17 year old teenage couple at Inomo HCIII

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 At least 1,476 cases of teenage pregnancies  and early marriages (all of girls below 17 years) have been registered in Kwania district within a period of only eight months.

Statistics from January to August, 2020 from different health facilities presented by Kwania District Probation and Social Welfare department show that a total of 1,476 young girls between the age of 12-16 years have been made pregnant and married off.

Of these cases, 974 were mothers below 16 years of age who visited health facilities across Kwania district for antenatal care between the months of January to August while 502 were cases of early marriages reported to police.

Moses Opio, the Kwania District Probation Officer says  of all these cases reported to different health facilities in the district, Abongomola Sub County is leading with 321 cases, followed by Aduku Town Council 318 cases, Nambieso 298, Chawente Sub County registered 286 cases, Inomo 218 and Aduku Sub County 38 cases respectively.

Opio attributed the increase of these cases to negligence of parents to closely monitor their children during this period of Covid-19 that saw most children brought back home after closure of schools.

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Opio expressed fear that the trend may continue if left unattended to, asking the public to always report the perpetrators of child rights abuses to police for stern actions to save these teenagers.

He asked parents to take up the mantle in guiding, protecting and nurturing their children to mitigate the vice among the community.

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Bazil Okello Onac, the Kwania District LCV Chairman, says the rate at which cases of early marriages and pregnancies is rising is overwhelming and worrying. He said many cases still remain silently covered up within the communities as they are not reported.

Jimmy Uhuru, the Aduku Township LCI Chairman attributes the increasing cases of teenage pregnancies and marriages to gaps in law enforcement.

Joan Abutu, the Inomo Sub County Female Councilor observes that many children are left crowded at different trading centers and towns up to late hours . She equally asks parents to closely monitor their children.

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Meanwhile the Inomo Sub County Chairman Douglas Abura expressed fear for child maternal deaths should the trend continue. He adds that as the sub county they have resolved to engage all the stakeholders in sensitizing the public against the vice.

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According to a recent report, three in ten Ugandan girls have their first child before their 18th birthday; more than a third marry before the age of 18. Indeed both child marriage and early childbearing leads girls to drop out of school prematurely.

The survey summarized that many girl children are married off at the age of 15, while at least 40 per cent are married before they are 18. In 2014, 61 per cent of Ugandan children below the age of 18 years had been married.