Uganda Youth and Adolescents Health Forum (UYAHF) met with several stakeholders in Kyegegwa district on the 21st of December 2021 to review and validate the second draft of the district costed action plan to end teenage pregnancies and child marriages.
The meeting held at the Kyegegwa district Rukurato hall was attended by opinion leaders and stakeholders such as RDC, Deputy RDC, Deputy CAO, CDO, Deputy CDO, district Bio-statistician, cultural and religious leaders, parents, CSOs, and young people among others.
While opening the meeting, Nakyegera Norah, an advocacy and campaigns officer at UYAHF, appreciated the efforts of the different stakeholders in the fight against the high rates of teenage pregnancy and child marriage rates in the district.
“Many of us in this room have several initiatives whose aim is to address the issue of teenage pregnancy and child marriage but all our efforts are being strained by the overwhelming numbers recorded during the COVID-19 period” added Norah.
Kyegegwa district has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancies. Data from the district health management information system indicates that 4,034 girls aged between 15 and 19 years had their first antenatal care visit at the end of 2020. In Kyegegwa, 1 in 2 adolescent girls is pregnant or already a mother. With a fertility rate of 7 children per woman, it ranks first among the most fertile districts in the country.
The meeting, among others, aims at gaining strategic buy-in from stakeholders and opinion leaders on the costed action plan, as well as facilitating technical assistance for the preparation of the costed district action plan on eliminating teenage pregnancies and child marriages.
“This meeting is to validate the second draft of the cost action plan by the various stakeholders, including having their inputs, suggestions, and contributions to help come up with a final costed action plan that will then be launched and implemented,” Norah added
During her presentation, Mrs. Charity Kirabo Nagemi, one of the consultants working with UYAHF in the development of the action plan, revealed that the action plan has seven objectives and the key players to implement these objectives.
“We have interventions under each objective that will assist Kyegegwa district in implementing this plan, and most importantly, the plan clearly states the implementors of each objective,” Charity explained.
Following her presentation, various stakeholders were able to provide feedback on the objectives as well as evaluate the interventions.
Mrs. Katusabe Daphine, the Kyegegwa district Deputy Chief Administrative Officer, suggested that because teenage pregnancy is both a health and a community issue, the district community development officer should be in charge of most of the interventions, with support from other district officers and CSOs.
According to Mrs. Asiimwe Grace Kakwenza, the Kyegegwa district resident district commissioner, the political leadership should be included as key players in the action plan because of their societal influence.
“Because of their decision-making powers when it comes to community matters, political will is very important in the execution of such programs in every district, starting from the local council one to the topmost political office in the district. So, bringing them on board will greatly aid success” She explained.
After the review and several inputs from stakeholders, the action plan was then broken down into sub-activities and costed, with an implementation plan awaiting the launch.
Mr. Teddyson Kandole, the Acting District Health Officer, expressed optimism about the cost of the action plan, noting that it is already a clear indication and sign of the district’s fight against teen pregnancy and child marriage issues.
“The district’s cost action plan has made significant progress and I already have high hopes that once launched and implemented as planned, we will see a significant decrease in these alarming figures.” Kandole Said
The costed action plan on ending child marriages and teenage pregnancies in Kyegegwa district will provide strategic ways in which all players within the district that are working towards the eradication of teenage pregnancy and child marriage can use to end the vices.