Health experts in Buliisa district have raised concerns about the increasing cases of teenage pregnancies.
Statistics at the district health department indicate that the district recorded 417 cases of teenage pregnancies between January and March this year.
Dr. Alex Afeti, the Buliisa District Health Officer (DHO), told our news reporters that “of the 1,898 total pregnancies registered at the various health facilities in the district between January and March, 417 were teenagers seeking antenatal services. The number could be far above the registered 417 since most of the teenagers fear going for antenatal services”.
Afeti attributed the high teenage pregnancies to high levels of poverty, a lack of parental support, especially for girls, high levels of school dropouts, and low levels of education among the people.
He urged teenagers to always seek antenatal care without fear but cautioned them that teenage pregnancies put expectant mothers at risk of fistulas and other complications since their bodies are not ready to handle pregnancies and deliveries.
Bernard Barugahara, the Buliisa District Community Officer-CDO, attributes the high rate of teenage pregnancies to the social, economic, and cultural behaviors of some families.
Bernard Barugahara added by saying that some parents encourage girls to go for marriage immediately when they reach the adolescent stage in order to get a dowry.
Fredrick Lukumu, the Buliisa LCV Chairperson, called for immediate intervention to address the issue and urged leaders at all levels to join efforts to fight teenage pregnancy cases in the district.
A survey conducted by Makerere University School of Public Health between September 2021 and October 2022 indicates that Bunyoro and Tooro regions lead in teenage pregnancies in Uganda.
The survey revealed that Bunyoro alone registered 29,234 cases of early pregnancies among girls aged between 15 and 19 years in 2022, with the most affected districts being Kikuube, Kibaale, Buliisa, and Kagadi.
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