KAMPALA, July 16 — The Ugandan Parliament has sounded a wake-up call to the government, community leaders and parents to combine efforts to pull down the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the country.

Giving her opening remarks in Parliament Tuesday, the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, urged stakeholders to intervene on the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the country. “Last Sunday, I launched a national campaign against teenage pregnancy. I request the Health Ministry to spread this campaign across the country,” Kadaga said.

Referring to reports that the rate of teenage pregnancy in Butaleja in eastern Uganda had reached 46 per cent, the Speaker said teenage pregnancy had many problems like causing young girls to drop out of school and diseases like fistula, which are linked to early pregnancies.

With a 25 per cent rate of child mothers, Uganda is among the countries with the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Africa. Out of the 4,860 deliveries in the three main government-aided health centres between July 2009 and June 2010, 505 of them were by girls below 18 years of age.

The survey also showed that most child mothers were either orphans or came from broken families.

According to the African Network for the Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN), sexual exploitation among children is responsible for the increase in teenage pregnancies. The ANPPCAN report indicates that at least 628 children are defiled in Uganda every month.

Reacting to the Speaker’s concern, Koboko woman MP Margaret Babadi said: “Who are these men impregnating our young girls? The government should do something about it.”

Kaliro woman MP Flavia M. Nabugera said: “The problem has been laxity of the media and other stakeholders about the high rate of immorality in the country. Laws have been made but are not implemented. Media managers should think about the future of our children are they publish pornographic content.”

Minister for Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo condemned men who seduced young girls into early sex.
“It is very unfortunate that a big number of our children get into these premature conducts. In my culture issues of sex were only discussed at mature age. I blame this on the laxity environment we have created. Teachers and parents have not played their role well in guiding these young people,” Lokodo argued.

He promised that his ministry would soon issue guidelines for teachers and parents to guide their children well and prevent them from early pregnancies.

Aruu County MP Odonga Otto said: “The major problem is because pornography laws are not being implemented by government. Nude pictures are everywhere. Government should act on televisions which are broadcasting sexually immoral movies.”


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