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Number of Girls With Second Unwanted Pregnancy High-Study

Dr Dinah Amongin, a lecturer in the Department of Public Health at Busitema University who conducted the study said they analyzed data for teenage pregnancies that have been documented for the last 30 years and also surveyed girls who have given birth before 18 years in Eastern Uganda to check the percentages of those that have another unwanted pregnancy and the drivers of this.

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The number of girls getting pregnant before the age of consent in Uganda has reduced in the last thirty years, this is according to a new study. However, the study also indicates that the number of girls who get another unwanted pregnancy before 20 years of age remains high.  

Dr Dinah Amongin, a lecturer in the Department of Public Health at Busitema University who conducted the study said they analyzed data for teenage pregnancies that have been documented for the last 30 years and also surveyed girls who have given birth before 18 years in Eastern Uganda to check the percentages of those that have another unwanted pregnancy and the drivers of this.

The highest percentage had another baby and the average number of babies generally stood at 2.2.

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In a two year-long survey in which she sought to understand repeat adolescent pregnancy in a bid to find solutions for ending preventable maternal and child deaths, Amongin who is also a maternal and child health expert says their findings suggest that escalation of economic distress following first birth was the overarching reason for repeat birth.

Generally, between 1988 and 2001, the researchers say from the data analysed including six Uganda Demographic and Health Surveys there was no evidence of change unlike between 2000 and 2016 surveys when a significant decline occurred at 13.5% something they say could be as a result of the number of programmes including free education that came with more girls attending school and staying there.

Amongin says beyond preventing index adolescent pregnancy, public health interventions should focus on preventing repeat pregnancies through implementing a school continuation policy or provide adolescent forms of education for adolescent mothers.

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 However, the discussion on whether or not pregnant adolescents should continue school was reignited recently with the lifting of the COVID-19 lockdown which left a lot of girls pregnant.

The Ministry said more than 100,000 girls were affected.  Then, civil society organizations started pushing for the children to be allowed to continue with their education.

This only yielded results in December when new guidelines were set for schools to follow.

According to Rosette Nanyanzi, the Acting Gender Advisor in the Ministry school administrators are required to keep in touch with the pregnant girls to monitor their wellbeing and provide the necessary emotional, moral and spiritual support. The schools are also expected to keep the records of whoever is responsible for the pregnancy for easy tracking when the need arises. 

But, Amongin says it’s not clear how these guidelines will be enforced as it’s still at the discretion of the school administrators for one to stay or go.

She says in their study, they have established that the girls who are helped to get back on track after first pregnancy by either setting up a business for them or returning them to school appeared to have achieved at the same level with those that weren’t disrupted and in some cases better.

She also recommends allowing young girls to be enrolled on contraceptives.                  

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