MOYO. The refugee implementing partners operating in Palorinya refugee settlement in Obongi district are challenged by the escalating cases of teenage pregnancies among the refugees and host communities in the districts of Moyo and Obongi.

According to a recent survey conducted by United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), the teenage pregnancy rate in the affected areas is up by 16 per cent ever since the influx of refugees in 2016.

Speaking during a meeting held at Moyo people’s hall on Monday to find ways of redeeming the challenge, Mr Richard Mwesigwa, a program analyst on sexual reproductive health at UNFPA said by March 2019, a total of 939 mothers were contacted in Palorinya refugee settlement of which 25% were teenagers.

He explained that 80 per cent of the women contacted during the survey got married before celebrating their 18th birthday while 90 per cent of them, though below the age of 18, were having their 2nd to 3rd child.

Mwesigwa said UNFPA had done a lot of interventions through programs like women adolescents and youth (WAY), which is aimed at addressing issues of sexual reproductive health, gender-based violence in the communities which are believed to be one of the main drivers of teenage pregnancies.

He said a total Of 56 health and sanitation clubs have been formed in schools both in primary and secondary levels to empower the minors about reproductive health services and to be ambassadors to their fellow students and community members.

Ms Palma Eyiya, a senior inspector of schools in Moyo district blamed the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy in the district to poor parenting. She said the best stage of upbringing a child with good morals starts at early childhood which stage parents tend to ignore.

Eyiya, however, said the challenge in reporting, tracking and responding to violence particularly against school-going girls remains low as parents tend to settle the cases before reaching authorities.

She revealed that there is a deliberate move to train all the teachers, senior women teachers, and other school management committee members in an effort to ensure safe learning environment to empower the learners to continue and remain in school.

Ms Lily Kareo Duku, the chairperson of Obongi district local government noted that low level of girl child education remains the greatest challenge facing the people in the new district.

She attributed the cases to less attention paid previously by the authorities in Moyo district the mother district by then to Obongi.

Mr Emmanuel Bada, the district youth council chairman Moyo called for regulation of an unregulated night disco operations which he said have left many young girls in the district vulnerable.

Ms Christine Muraa, the Community development officer Moyo town council said while every sub-county has a by-law on Education and night discos, enforcement has become a challenge to them giving a rise to teenage pregnancy and school dropout.