At least 5,000 teenage girls have been conceived in the Katakwi district since October 2020. A new report released by the Senior District Probation Officer in Katakwi, Betty Angiro indicates that more than 7,000 teenage pregnancies have been recorded in Katakwi between January 2020 and September 2021.
The report shows that there is an increase in the number of girls getting pregnant in Katakwi every month. At the start of COVID-19 last year, Katakwi district recorded 1,173 teenage pregnancies in only seven months. But the figures have continued to surge.
On average, about 480 girls are impregnated every month. Angiro says that this is a surprising and worrying trend for girl-child education, growth, and development. She adds that more data is being compiled but urges leaders at various levels to educate the communities on the dangers of early marriages.
“Since last year, we have had more girls getting pregnant in the district. The most unfortunate bit is that a number of these girls are unable to give birth and this has forced them to undergo caesarian section. The problem is that some of them are already reporting cases of birth complications like fistula and others. We need local leaders to help in sensitization of the communities against child marriages”, she said.
Florence Amoding, the Community Development Officer in Palam Sub County faults security personnel for worsening the teenage pregnancy scourge in Katakwi district. She explains that her office has recorded at least ten cases where soldiers impregnated young girls and were transferred by their superiors to escape justice.
According to Amoding, many of the teenage girls who have conceived with soldiers and other security personnel are very desperate for help since the men, who should be taking responsibility have run away.
Capt. Edrine Mawanda, the 3rd Division Spokesman didn’t pick or return calls when contacted by our reporter on the soldiers defiling children in Katakwi. Currently, Katakwi is undertaking massive sensitization against teenage pregnancies across the district.
The campaign is backed by the 16- Days of Activism that commenced in the district on December 1, 2021. Emmanuel Ojirot, the Palam Sub County LC III Chairperson has asked parents to take responsibility for their children to help save the girl-child.
He observed that most of the children who have fallen victims to teenage pregnancies come from families where parents are either alcoholics or separated.