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.

Although several stakeholders have many interventions in place, the issue of teenage pregnancy and child marriage is still an issue. It’s for this reason that Uganda Youth and Adolescents’ Health Forum supported the Kyegegwa district health team on the development of the costed district action plan. The development process was very participatory involving a range of stakeholders such as young people, health workers, parents, religious and cultural leaders, police, judiciary among others.

Uganda Youth and Adolescents’ Health Forum, in collaboration with Kyegegwa district, launched a district-wide costed action plan to end teen pregnancy and child marriage on January 27, 2021. The newly launched action plan outlines strategic ways for all stakeholders in the district to work together to end teen pregnancy and child marriage. It explains in detail the key players and their responsibilities, as well as the budget implications and implementation areas.

The launch was attended by district officials including the district chairperson, RDC, Deputy CAO, acting DHO, CDO, district bio-statistician, cultural and religious leaders, parents, CSOs, young people, change champions and the media.

While appearing on NBSlive At 1 news bulletin during the launch, Nakyegera Norah, an advocacy and campaigns officer at UYHAF, noted that the action plan is a milestone in the move to eradicate the skyrocketing rate of teenage pregnancy and child marriages already choking the district.

Nakyegera Norah appearing on NBSlive At 1 news bulletin at Fort Breeze hotel in FortPortal city shortly before the launch of the district costed action plan.

“The development of the action plan has been an inclusive process with all stakeholders in every step, and as UYAHF, we are so privileged that we have come to the launch of the plan today,” Norah added.

While giving his opening remarks, Mr. Kandole Teddyson, the DHO-Kyegegwa, revealed that he was impressed by the efforts put forth in making the action plan. “This entire process has been quite demanding, but as the district, we have managed to pull it off with the help of our partner, UYHAF,” Kandole noted.

During his speech, Mr. Byamukama, Kisoke John, the Kyegegwa district chairperson, explained that the challenge of teenage pregnancy and child marriages has been overwhelming, but that with the arrival of UYAHF on board, much has been done to try to mitigate the problem, including the development of an action plan.

Mr. Byabakama Kisoke John delivers his speech during the launch of the action plan

However, Mr. Byabakama stressed the need to start the mobilization drive for resources to fund the action plan. “I will definitely push for funding of this action plan in the district budget through my office, but the fund allocation may be far below the amount needed to fully fund the plan.” He added.

The various stakeholders pledged to collaborate in the implementation of the action plan, and UYAHF was urged to continue supporting the district, particularly in resource mobilization, now that the action plan has been launched.