The newly elected Butaleja District chairperson has pledged to fight the rampant teenage pregnancies and poverty levels in the district.
Mr Micheal Higenyi Bory, who previously served as the councillor for Butaleja Town, told Daily Monitor in an interview last Friday that the problems have hampered economic growth in the district.
“Some of our action programme of 2021-2026 includes fighting child marriages, poverty and creating opportunities such as jobs so that people can improve their lives and provide for their families,” Mr Higenyi said.
He said this will be achieved through creation of a supportive environment, including expansion of social protection through education and job creation.
He said Butaleja is among the top five districts in the country with a high rate of child marriages in the eastern region, at 46 per cent.
“Most of these girls drop out of school due to reasons such as poverty, poor performance, early pregnancy among others and get married at an early age,” he said.
According to the 2011 Uganda Health Demographic Survey, one in four Ugandan girls between 15 and 19 has either had a child or is pregnant.
In Butaleja, the numbers are even higher, with 30 per cent of girls having had a baby or were pregnant between 15 and 19 years.
Recently, the outgoing district LC5 chairperson, Mr Richard Waya, said the high teenage pregnancies is a result of high fertility rate.
“The parents in the district are caught up in the old traditions that every girl who gets pregnant gets married,” Mr Waya said.
Ms Sovereign Hasahya, a human rights activist, attributed some causes of teenage pregnancies to early marriages, lack of parental guidance and lack of information regarding contraceptive use.
“The issue of teenage pregnancies in this district is critical,” she said, adding that Butaleja has a grandmother aged 28 years.