Masimo Opiyo, the Executive Director of Comboni Samaritans, says teenage motherhood has overtime presented a huge challenge for the region spanning over three decades right from the early 90s during the height of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army - LRA rebellion.
Gulu Archdiocese has initiated an ambitious fundraising
drive for Shillings 1.9 billion to combat the alarming child pregnancies in the
eight districts of Acholi sub region.
Through Comboni Samaritans of Gulu, its affiliate not for profit organization,
the Diocese seeks to mitigate the negative effects of teenage motherhood,
empower victims, their parents and the community to cope with the consequences of
Masimo Opiyo, the Executive Director of Comboni Samaritans, says teenage
motherhood has overtime presented a huge challenge for the region spanning over
three decades right from the early 90s during the height of the rebel Lord’s
Resistance Army - LRA rebellion.
Opiyo pointed out that the vice has skyrocketed following the prolonged
lockdown measures imposed by the Government to contain the spread of the global
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) that has bedevilled Uganda since March.
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The intervention is to be implemented under Awakening Hope for Teenage Mothers
projected under the theme “Ending teenage pregnancy starts with you” for an
initial duration of three years, starting in January 2021.
Michael Oleke, a Consultant for the Project revealed that available statistics
gathered from the eight District Health Departments of Acholi show that 17,653
cases of teenage pregnancies were reported at different Government aided heath
centres in the region from March to date.
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According to the figures, Amuru ranked the highest of all the eight Districts
with 6,549 cases followed by Omoro with
3,855 and Gulu with 2,280. Kitgum recorded 1,359 cases; Lamwo 1,149, Pader 920,
Agago 910 and 640 in Nwoya District.
Fr. Robert Odong, the Diocesan Secretary of Education asserts that the
objective of the project is to provide livelihood support programs for the
teenage mothers, officer psycho-social services, facilitate sexual and
reproductive health services and reinstate the teenage mothers in school.
A 2019 report by the African Network for the Prevention & Protection
Against Child Abuse (APPCAN), Acholi sub region records a high number of
teenage mothers with nearly one in every five households recording a case of teenage