Parents in Luuka district are worried that teenage pregnancies could shoot up again following the closure of schools due to renewed COVID-19 outbreak.
In the first lockdown last year, over 100 girls below the age of 18 fell pregnant in the district after being lured into sex.
President Yoweri Museveni recently announced 42 days closure of all schools countrywide and other religious institutions like churches, mosques following a spike in cases of COVID 19 virus.
On June 7, 2020, NBS TV ran a story about the increasing rates of teenage pregnancies in Busoga sub-region and in particular, this bulletin indicated that over 60 learners between the age of 14-15 years in Luuka and Kaliro districts were pregnant and likely to miss school when 2nd term re-opens.
Parents believe the problem is likely to escalate this lockdown. They argue that the idle girls maybe lured into early sex after being offered small gifts like sweets, cakes and chappatis.
The parents have attributed the challenge of teenage pregnancies to poverty in the area.
Parents are now appealing to Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to come to their rescue and sensitize their children on the dangers of early sex.
The LC 5 chairman Luuka, Simon Wakaze said the majority of girls are lured into sex as a result of poverty besides reluctance by parents to sensitize their daughters about the dangers of engaging in early sex.
“I appeal to parent’s to encourage their children to engage in household chores instead of remaining idle in order to reduce on the number of teenage pregnancies in the district,” Wakaze said.
The Resident District Commissioner Luuka, Lilian Nakawesi accused some parents of engaging in sexual activity within the vicinity of their children, tempting them to also practice the habit.
Nakawesi added, “The increasing cases of poverty in the district have also contributed to the high rate of early pregnancies since most girls end up being married off at an early age in exchange for bride price.”
The LCV has cautioned parents to desist from the habit of marrying off their daughters at an early age saying anyone found guilty risks being arrested and prosecuted before courts of law.
According to Stacey Tibaaga the president of Hope For Change Africa a local community organization says that “Child marriages and teenage pregnancy has for years been a national concern in Busoga sub region and as an Organization, we remain committed to champion and play a role in the promotion of health for all Young people in the region”.