OPINION: Spiking Teenage Pregnancy Rates; Why Parents Ought to Do Better

Oath Bahikile

There is no doubt that teenage pregnancy is a phenomenon that has had a negative impact on societies, individuals and communities from a socio-economic and health perspective.

Adolescent mothers (those between the ages of 10 and 19) have higher rates of eclampsia, intrapartum infections, and bloodstream infections than females aged 20 to 24, and their offspring have low birth weight. , premature births and premature birth rates are high. Serious neonatal condition.

Data from a survey by Sully E. (2020) show that 55% of unwanted pregnancies in teenage girls between the ages of 15 and 19 lead to unsafe abortions in low and middle income countries (LMICs). In addition, according to her 2021 estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), in developing regions, her 21 million girls aged 15-19 are pregnant, of which about 12 million give birth each year. increase.

According to a study by Chung W et al. (2018) for her teenage pregnancy risk and protection variables in low- and middle-income countries, people with lower education and socioeconomic status often have higher pregnancy rates.

According to the 2016 National Population and Housing Census, Uganda has a young population, with 37% of the total population in school age (ages 6 to 19) and 32% in their teens (ages 13 to 19). This information confirms that you should be concerned about teenage pregnancies.

One in four (25%) Ugandan girls between the ages of 15 and 19 have given birth to a child or are pregnant, according to a UNFPA report on teenage pregnancy and the state of the world population in 2022. is shown. In young girls, her 28 maternal deaths per 100 live births (aged 15–25 years). In 2021, 1,052 girls will become pregnant every day. Uganda’s maternal mortality ratio (MMR) was 336 per 100,000 live births, and in terms of maternal mortality, 17.2% of the deaths were to women aged 15–19 years.

It’s no surprise to learn that 34% of new HIV infections each year are caused by young people.

According to UNFPA 2021 data, the six regions with the highest numbers of teenage pregnancies are: Busoga: The most affected districts were Kamuli (6,535) and Mayuge (6,205 teenage pregnancies). North Central: Mukono district most affected (5,535)
and Luweero (4,545). Rango: (6,449 Indians and 4,697 Lira).South Central: (Wakiiso
West Nile: (Arua 4,705 and Yumbe 3,973). Toro/
Rwenzori: Kasese (7,319) and Kenjojo (4,341).

In African culture, some parents push their daughters into marriage because of the price of the bride, while others keep their daughters from getting married because they have few options for higher education or jobs.

Early marriage is highly devastating because girls have little control over their reproductive choices.

As Malcolm X once said, “If you want to hide something from black people, write it in a book,” the Ministry of Education and Sports issued in 2020 Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Teenage Pregnancy in School Settings in Uganda. issued a revised version. Whether these guidelines have been distributed and have served their intended purpose.

Most of these documents can cobweb and be discarded from storage without being used.

who is responsible?

Political leaders, including parliaments, local governments, and ministries of gender, labour, social development, education and health, are responsible for making laws and policies. Promote advocacy and awareness of sexual and reproductive health issues. Their work is complemented by religious and cultural leaders and educational institutions.

Law enforcement officials, such as the police, must work closely with the judiciary to ensure that perpetrators of unscrupulous behavior are identified, arrested, and brought to justice. It was difficult to see or hear police allowing rape and corruption to occur outside the law.

For parents, their role in dealing with teenage pregnancy is enormous. Parents are very interested in this trip. From being a role model to providing for a girl’s needs, it’s a parent’s responsibility. Parents have more responsibility because they are away from home on vacation, but some are free to let their daughters go to nearby trade centers for music shows and karaoke.

Not all so-called house helpers and stepmothers can be trusted as some abuse children. This violated her right to food in accordance with Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Teenage pregnancy is greatly facilitated by poor communication between parents and daughters. Without a best friend, the girls are left alone in a world of solitude, finding nothing but solace and embarrassment in a hungry man.

I was pleased to participate in a UNICEF-supported rapid assessment of teenage pregnancy in selected districts of the country. It turned out to be even worse, as some of them don’t care at all, and parents who go to boarding schools just pay tuition and buy books. This forces the girls to hire men who work to provide their basic needs, and condom use sometimes goes wrong, leading to pregnancy.

Parents have a fundamental need to address the increased risk of teenage pregnancy in light of existing global, regional and national efforts to address adolescent pregnancy, child marriage and childbirth. Responsibility needs to be reawakened. Studies, recommendations, and other national and international laws and publications only complement the parent’s duty to confront teenage pregnancies.

Talking to your child about the realities of life helps them understand their needs and challenges. The most important thing is to feed the girl child so that someone else does not do so at great expense.

Now that parents have a firm grasp of their role, designing integrated, multi-sector sexual and reproductive health education programs for schools and communities serves a complementary purpose. can do.

Following the maxim of ‘teaching girls, educating nations’, ending teenage pregnancy portends sustainable health outcomes at family and community levels and supports overall national development. increase.

Daraus Bahikire is a Public Health (Health Promotion) Professional and Founder and Director of Purpose Health Care Africa. This organization advocates for community-driven disease interventions for proper health and well-being.

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