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Close to 2000 Underage Girls Impregnated in Kitgum During Lockdown

Kitgum District Chairperson, Jackson Omona, says the overwhelming cases of teenage pregnancies are worrying.
29 Oct 2020 09:25
Data on early pregnancy in Kitgum district from July 2019 to September 2020 Photo By Dan M. Komakech

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Close to 2,000 underage girls in Kitgum district have reportedly been impregnated during the lockdown. Statistics from the District Probation Department indicate that close to 1,028 girls aged between 10 to 19 years sought antenatal services at Kitgum General Hospital and other health facilities in the district between March and September 2020.

However, Michael Ogweng, the Senior Kitgum District Probation Officer, says the figure is far less than the actual number of cases because the district Health Information System survey doesn’t capture data from private health facilities and those presumed to have eluded antenatal care at public health facilities. 

According to the breakdown, 167 girls were reported pregnant within the in March alone, 157 in April, 153 in May, 157 in June, 189 in July and 172 in August while 48 girls sought antenatal care in September. Orom, Layamo and Omiya Anyima sub-counties reported the highest number of teenage pregnancies having registered 149, 115 and 100 respectively over the past seven months.

Other sub counties include Labongo Akwang that registered 94 cases, Namukora 84 cases, Mucwini 83, Central Division 80, Kitgum Matidi 62, Labongo Amida and Pandwong Division both with 60 cases each, Labongo Layamo with 49 and Pager division with 44 cases. 

Ogweng attributes the overwhelming number of teenage pregnancies to peer influence; poor parenting coupled with high levels of ignorance, poverty and desire for bride price by some parents particularly in the rural areas.

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Kitgum District Chairperson, Jackson Omona, says the overwhelming cases of teenage pregnancies are worrying. He calls for urgent intervention from different stakeholders, saying left unabated the vice could compromise the pursuit of education among school-going girls in the district.

He faults parents and community members for abandoning their roles and responsibilities of guiding the young girls.  

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Omona says the district has instituted a 30 member village committee and recruited para-social workers and community development officers to inform the populace on the dangers of early sexual practices, cross-generational relationships and unwanted pregnancies.  

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