The Ministry of Health has launched a 12-month national campaign to prevent teenage pregnancies from 24 per cent to 15 per cent by July 2015.
Speaking at the launch in Butaleja District on Sunday, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga said the Shs2 billion campaign is aimed at protecting the girl-child from abuse, especially in rural areas where parents marry off their children in an attempt to get money.
“Teenage pregnancy is on the increase in our country. We need collective effort from all stakeholders to fight the vice in order to save our young girls,” said Ms Kadaga during the function at Booma Grounds.
The campaign will run under the theme, “Let Girls be Girls”.
She disclosed that this project will also mobilise and educate local communities, parents, pupils and teachers on the rights of children and will work to create a safe and secure environment for children within homes, schools and communities.
Ms Kadaga also warned parents who have turned it a habit to send their young girls on streets to sell their bodies in order to get domestic needs such as sugar, salt and paraffin. “It’s a shame that our some of girls are used as prostitutes in order to get domestic use like sugar, salt. Some of our parents are sending their daughters deliberately to go and look for domestic use on streets,” said Ms Kadaga”.
State minister for Primary Healthcare Sarah Opendi called on religious, cultural and local leaders to back the campaign. “These alarming rates of teenage pregnancies are a major cause of concern and are a threat to national development,” said Ms Opendi. “We need to do better job of upholding the rights of every girl and empowering her to exercise her rights. We can eliminate many of the conditions that contribute to adolescent pregnancy,” she added.