On 24th July 2021, a health team from Uganda Youth and Adolescent health forum held a live radio talk to enlighten the community in Bugisu sub region about the ways to reduce the high rate of teenage pregnancy prevalence in the area.
The one-hour radio show aired live on 95.0-time Fm Mbale from 9:00 to 10:00am and the topic of discussion was: Teenage Pregnancies: A devastating Reproductive Health problem for girls, their families, communities and the nation. The panel composed of Mr. Mwesigey Patrick – Team leader UYAHF, Kairanya Edith-Change Champion – UYAHF and Sr. Abigail Apio – Midwife/MCH consultant UYAHF Adolescent Health Clinic.
During the discussion Mr. Mwesigye Patrick attributed the high rates of teenage pregnancies to factors like lack of access to family planning services and information.He notes that many of the girls have less or no knowledge on these family planning methods and also where to access them especially in the remote areas.
He also said that parents have failed to create time for their children and take them through sexuality education, so the adolescents are left to grow up in their own way without any proper knowledge and guidance.
Patrick urged parents to create time for their children and teach them on sexuality education especially during the adolescent period and tip them on issues on how to relate with opposite sex, how the girls should handle sexual request from men and still remain safe. He also urged the community to take up its role in child upbringing.
Kairanya Edith a representative of the young person pointed out that teenage pregnancy has led to many young girls dropping out of school due to discrimination. She adds that due to stigma resulting from these teenage pregnancies, some girls tend to opt for unsafe abortion which endangers their lives.
Edith explained that many of these girls end up getting married at young age because parents always send them back to the boys who get them pregnant yet most of these boys or men are to ready to take them in as wives.
Sister Abigail Apio, a Midwife/MCH consultant UYAHF Adolescent Health Clinic says that many of the girls don’t even mange to push the baby when it comes to giving birth because they are not ready biologically.
Community always stigmatizes these young girls and this has led to lots of suicidal tendencies where these young ends up killing themselves.
According to a May 2019 research by the Ministry of Health in partnership with Compassion International, a Christian humanitarian organization , the teenage pregnancies in the district have increased from 10 per cent in 2018 to 20 per cent among girls of between 12 and 16 years in 2019.