NATIONAL. A study conducted by the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Uganda chapter in 2020 has shown that the cases of teenage pregnancy and early marriages have shot up in Uganda during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

The research undertaken in 25 randomly selected districts across the country indicates that the number of girls aged 10-24 seeking for the first Antenatal Care in health facilities increased from 80,655 to 98,810 during the pandemic period.

It also shows that Kampala metropolitan area comprising Kampala City, Wakiso and Mukono districts recorded the highest number of cases of teenage pregnancy and early marriages with 24,059, 21,595 and 8,639 cases respectively. This was followed by Kamuli, Kasese, Jinja and Mayuge districts.

While disseminating the research findings to the different stakeholders in the West Nile region at Muni University on Tuesday, Mr Ben Kirere, the FAWE Monitoring and Evaluation Officer said the situation is worse among children between the age bracket of 10 – 14 years.

“After engaging directly with the 6,000 respondents, we went to the Ministry of Health management system to check those who have attended their first antenatal care from the various hospitals and when we computed that, we realized that between March and June 2020, there was an increment of 22 per cent as reflected in the figure,” Mr Kirere noted.

It is discovered the majority of the cases are from the homes of the abused teenagers.

“Issues that came out during the study are really painful and our girls are so disadvantaged. But the most painful thing is that most of the girls have been abused within the confines of their homes. Girls have been abused by parents, friends, by cultural and religious leaders. These are the people that these girls should be looking to,” Ms Suzan Opok Tumusiime, the executive director of FAWE stressed.

“Although the cases of early marriage were discovered to be as low as 2.8 per cent during the study period, many of the impregnated girls have ended up being forced into early marriages due to pressure by relatives and parents,” Opok said.

However, chances for many of the abused girl-child to go back to school may be minimal due to fears of being laughed at by the peers and pressure from parents to indulge in income generating activities to cater for the babies, a condition that forces many school age children to remain in marriage.

According to the report, poverty, parental negligence and the mindset of considering the girl-child as a source of wealth in many communities are some of the factors increasing cases of teenage pregnancy and early marriages.

Mr Sam Wadri Nyakua, the Arua city Mayor noted that many girls end up being impregnated mostly because they choose to go out to men to look for essential things which come with a cost.

Meanwhile Prof. Christine Dranzoa, the Vice Chancellor of Muni University described the need to address teenage pregnancy and early marriage among the girl and boy child as an emergency to correct.

She stressed that paying less attention to the vice will promote generational poverty in communities when the current children are not educated.

Arua district woman MP, Lillian Paparu who represented Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the Minister for Primary Education observed that a motion about protection of the girl has been moved on the floor of Parliament which many legislators have upheld.

“Recently Hon Sarah Opendi moved a similar motion on the floor of Parliament urging the government to plan and regulate issues affecting the girl child and that has given us a backup as women because the problem has been talked about severally and it has been put to the rightful committee,” Ms Paparu said.

 

The Family of Rev. Canon Stephen and Mrs Florence Gladys Abuko Gelenga, would like to thank each and every one for making a very difficult time for our family a little bit easier through your tremendous moral, spiritual, physical, material, and financial support, and your thoughtful and meaningful words of encouragement, right from the time Dad was battling in the hospital to his promotion to glory. You brought light and comfort to our family, and took a lot of pressure off of us during this very difficult time. For all these, we are eternally grateful.

We may not be able mention every one of you individually, but would like to give special gratitude the following;

1. The Archbishop of Province of Church of Uganda – His Grace, Dr. Stephen Kazimba Mugalu

2. Assistant Bishop of Kampala Diocese, Rt.Rev.Dr. Hannington Mutebi

3. Archbishop Emeritus/Caretaker Bishop Nebbi Diocese – Dr. Henry Luke Orombi

4. Archbishop Emeritus – Dr. Stanley Ntagali

5. The Bishop, Diocesan staff, and Clergy Ma’di Westnile Diocese headed by the Rt. Rev. Charles Collins Andaku

6. Bishop emeritus – Rt. Rev. Dr. Joel Samson Obetia

7. Bishop Emeritus – Rt. Rev. Dr. Mari

8. The Bishop of Rwenzori Diocese

9. The District Khadi Arua District and Arua Muslim Community

10. The House of Clergy /Pastors’ wives - Madi Westnile Diocese & Kampala Diocese

11. Mothers’ Union/Christian Women Fellowship – All Saints Cathedral Kampala, St. John’s COU Kamwokya, and Ma’di Westnile Diocese

12. Provost, all Clergy and Christians of All Saints Cathedral kampala

13. Vicar and all Christians of St. John Kamwokya

14. Parish Priest and all Christians of St. Paul’s Church Okuvu

15. The Chaplain and Lugbara Community - St. Francis Chapel Makerere University

16. The Provost, clergy and Christians of Emmanuel Cathedral Mvara

17. Emmanuel Cathedral Childrens’ church

18. Mvara Community and Leaders of all the five zones

19. St. Phillips COU Arua

20. St. Phillips COU Koyi

21. Nyangilia COU

22. The Archdeacon and Christians of Maracha Archdeaconry

23. The Archdeacon and Christians of Vurra Archdeaconry

24. The Archdeacon and Christians of Koboko Archdeaconry

25. The Archdeacon and Christians of Aringa Archdeaconry

26. Adumi Parish

27. Okavu Parish

28. Agape Ministry for Christ

29. Scripture Union North-western Region

30. Christian Action For Empowering Church and Community (CAFECC)

31. Anglican Evangelistic Enterprise (AEE)

32. Faith Ministry

33. Ministers and all Members of Parliament from Westnile Region

34. West nile Foundation and its able Leadership

35. Hon. William Nokrach

36. Arua City Mayor and all City officials

37. Office of Ayivu Chiefdom – Mr. Yuma Amuku Manasseh

38. Retired Commissioner of Prisons – Mr. Nafutali Olea

39. The Director of Education Ministry of Education & Sports - Dr.Jane Egau Oku

40. The Commissioner Teacher instruction and development – Mr. Jonathan Kamwana

41. The Vice Chancellor Muni University – Prof. Christine Dranzoa

42. Uganda Christian University – Arua Campus

43. Principals Association of Uganda (PAU)

44. Principals Association Northern Uganda

45. Nakaseke Core PTC BOG, Staff and Students

46. Arua Core PTC BOG, Staff, Old students and Staff SACCO

47. The Principal Arua School of Comprehensive Nursing – Mr. Dranimva Nixon G. Njebo

48. The Management of Mulago Health tutoring College – Madam Keren Drateru

49. Principal Muni National Teachers College – Madam Daisy Aliwaru

50. Mvara Secondary School headed by Mr. Matua Eliakim

51. Muni Girls Secondary School headed by Madam Grace Draru

52. Springs Nursery and Primary school

53. ActionAid International Uganda

54. MEMPROW Uganda

55. Zymatt International

56. The management of KK Travellers

57. Draza Foundation

58. A-Plus Funeral Home

59. Yasmin Health Care

60. DRC Rhino Camp

61. Orient Bank

62. Management of Eagle Air – Captain Tonny Rubambora

63. Emmyways Engineering & Construction company

64. Ayivu Development Association

65. Ayivu Development Agency

66. Arua Business Community

67. All media houses – VOL, Arua One, West Nile Web

68. Arua Hill Football club

69. Onduparaka Football club

70. Mvara - Manya FC

71. Above the Low

72. Fire Eaters Mvara Bodaboda stage

73. Kakwa Community Arua

74. Madi Anyribu/Vuu community

75. Robu pio community

76. Odunyai Community

77. Adumi Community

78. Mutu community

79. Muyenga Bukasa Community

80. Central Organising committee Kampala and Arua headed by Rev. Can Isaac Candia

81. All friends in diaspora,

82. All Inlaws and relatives

May the Lord reward all of you abanduntly.

Florence, Mercy, Mary and Ben Gelenga on behalf of Alibe Family.