By Josephine Nnabbaale
Kampala - The overwhelming incidence of a teenage pregnancy in Mubende District has shocked visiting ministry of Health officials. According to a report the district health educator, Mr Charles Kawuma, presented to the assistant Commissioner for Reproductive Health in the ministry, Dr Dina Nakiganda, three in every five teenage girls in Mubende District get pregnant or give birth between the ages of 15 and 19.
"Our statistics show that 67 per cent of girls in Mubende have sex at an earlier age, thus exposing them to increasing risk of teenage pregnancy compared to the national average of 25 per cent," Mr Kawuma said on Monday at the launch of a partnership between Mubende Regional Referral Hospital and Save the Mothers.
Save the Mothers is an international organisation that supports diverse professionals in developing countries to improve the health of mothers and babies.
Mr Kawuma said most of the young girls are lured into early marriages by their poor parents in order to acquire some wealth in form of bride price from the suitors.
"We are going to ensure that men who married them are prosecuted for defilement," he warned.
Mubende District has one of the highest fertility rates in the country, currently standing at 6.7 per cent compared to the national average rate of 6.2 per cent.
Dr Nakiganda urged political leaders, religious leaders, teachers and health officials in the district to join hands to fight teenage pregnancy by sensitising children about the dangers of early sex.
"The situation here (in Mubende) is worrying and we can only make a difference when all stakeholders are brought on board," she said.
She also cautioned hospital officials to stop keeping the ambulance at the hospital premises yet the people who need it most are in the villages.
"Ambulances should be parked at the sub-county offices so that they can be easily accessed by those who want the services," she added.
The executive director Save the Mothers programme, Dr Jean Chamberlain, said under the partnership, they will introduce a mother-baby friendly arrangement at the hospital, whereby a toll-free line will be provided to enable mothers get information and services such as provision of surgical stitches for operated mothers directly from qualified personnel.
Source: All Africa