Govt should intervene on escalated teenage pregnancies

Author, Ronnie Onzima Byaruhanga. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The future shall be unlikeable if our mothers of generations to come are not protected or helped to overcome their routine challenges that are often accorded little attention, even by those that should be at the helm of these efforts. 

Prior to the March 2020 Covid-19 pandemic outbreak in Uganda and the lockdowns that followed, concerns over teenage pregnancies and early marriages had already grown in some Ugandan societies.

The above anomalies have since been pushed to the extremes by Covid-19 and it’s far reaching consequences including poverty.

Shocking official statistics indicate that over 17,000 pregnancies have been posted across the country during the period.

Furthermore, heartbreaking media stories of young girls aged just over 11 being sexually exploited in exchange for sanitary pads paint a grim picture of the unprecedented fate of other girls buried in untold misery.

Several families in most affected areas such as Amudat, Kasese and West Nile leave below the poverty line with most unable to afford a daily expenditure of more than $2 which out rightly conditions early marriages and consequently- early unplanned pregnancies.

It’s sufficiently disturbing to learn of how families in such areas have sold girls in a lame move aimed at solving domestic financial word.  

I urge government to think out and embrace fast solutions that can end this plight for instance adopting or extending poverty alleviation programs such as Emyoga to such places. Such programs often get looted before target beneficiaries reap.

A post-2021 increase in the number of female legislators through the ballot and having many female ministers on cabinet including the vice president and prime minister should be a voice of merit towards achieving this course.

If government has capacity to distribute free condoms then why not basic necessities like sanitary materials for our female counterparts so as to safe guard their future?

The future shall be unlikeable if our mothers of generations to come are not protected or helped to overcome their routine challenges that are often accorded little attention, even by those that should be at the helm of these efforts. 

Ronnie Onzima Byaruhanga is an advocate against teenage pregnancy and early marriages.

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