Covid-19 sparks the rate of early pregnancy in Rwenzori

By Innocent Kiiza

The joy of every parent is to see their siblings succeeding in life but due to difficult and situations brought by Corona Pandemic, some parents’ joy is cut off as their daughters get pregnant at toddle age.

Covid-19 pandemic has made many girls in Rwenzori region to become the victims of early pregnancy and early motherhood due to circumstances of survival.

Juliet Kabugho, 14 years and a mother to one child said that due to hardship to survival in corona situation, they end up going in for men who promise them to take care of them if they adhere to their sexual desires.

Juliet added that many of her fellows have become victims and after they end up becoming single mother as they look for survival.

She called upon leaders and some NGOs to come up and empower girl child on methods and ways of making a living in hardship of Corona pandemic.

According to the findings from Forum for Women Educationalist Uganda Chapter (FAWE) report implemented in 25 districts, indicates that Rwenzori region has registered an increase of girls getting pregnancy at early age as 12 and14 years end up becoming early mothers.

The findings highlighted 25 district where Ntoroko district, Bundibuygo , Bunyanga,  and Kasese district in Rwenzori region is among where girls get pregnant at tender age and become young mothers.

Susana Opok, Executive Director Forum for Women Educationalist Uganda Chapter (FAWE), said covid-19 has done more badly than good to girls’ situation, adding that the rate at which girls getting pregnant has doubled, higher than that before the outbreak of the pandemic.

She mentioned that the rate has increased to 22.5% above that of nation which is 20% in a period of one month.

The report indicated that 316 girls of 10 to 14 year of age got pregnant; something which has to be addressed before it goes out of hands.

Susana added that every stake holder starting from parents have to play their role to talk to their daughters, the challenges one face to produce at toddle age and government to educate and empower the girl child.

“Parents should know their responsibility to guide and protect their children in pandemic hardship from risks of get pregnancies where men take advantage of them in this pandemic,’ Susana said.

This came after reports from the internally displaced people (IDP) camps in Muhokya where parents have sexually intercourse in presence of their children an act which portal immorality to young ones.

Saidi Kasiba, Area councilor reported that parents in camps have limited space and due to this, they don’t have alterative to cater for young ones in camp.

Saidi said that most children in camp are below 17 years and face it rough when parents expose children to immorality.

“The situation has exposed girl to risk of being impregnated by their own brothers and parents in the absence of their mothers as they try to practice what they saw at night.” Saidi said.

                                                                       In Reports

Adolescent girls, in particular, face multiple challenges like severely and unevenly risk of HIV infection. Two- thirds of all new HIV infections are contracted by the adolescent girls.

Many girls also have drop out of the school as result of un wanted teenage pregencies and early marriages, according to the ministry of health.

25 percent of the Uganda teenagers becomes pregnant at age of 19, close to the half are married off before age of 18 years and continue  having babies into their mid- 40’s.

Uganda has one of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates, with 18 mothers dying every day in pregnancy, during and after childbirth as many teenage mothers and many times die or get serious complication while giving birth.

According to the world health organization, teenage girls aged 15-19 years are twice more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth compared to women in their 20’s , whereas those under the age 15 years  are five times more likely to die and this is increasing due to structural barriers that are either cultural or religiously perpetuated.

The ministry of health needs to priorities implementation of policies, strategies, plans and programmer that promote the sexual and reproductive health of \adolescent and youth, including trainings of public  health providers  in provision of adolescents and youth friendly services to ensure  no adolescent  is turned  away from hospital for seeking contraceptive service and information, according to Susana Opok, Executive Director Forum for Women Educationalist Uganda Chapter (FAWE),

However, Forum for women Educationalist Chapter is implementing enabling girl child project donated relief items worth six million which includes sanitary pads, cooking oil posh, beans and soap to vulnerable people in Karasundara who were affected by floods in Kasese district.

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