Leaders in Budaka District have opted to prioritize family planning services to counter the high rate of teenage pregnancies majorly of school-going children which have continued to baffle them.
Statistics indicate that 25.8 percent of teenage girls in the Budaka district get pregnant before the age of 18.
While presenting the district family planning performance status during a two-day follow-up meeting on the sustainability of Budaka family planning Advocacy working group and orientation of new leaders at Linco Hotel, the district Biostatistician, Agwaro Kizito, noted that between July –December 2021 the district registered 1,594 teenage pregnancies.
According to Agwaro, this is extremely high and something must be done to address this trend by all stakeholders.
The sub-counties with the highest teenage pregnancies are Budaka Town Council which had 219, Kameruka , Lyama , Iki-IKI , Kamonkoli , Kaderuna , Kakule , Budaka sub-county , Nansanga , Mugiti , Katira  and Kachomo .
The training was organized by partners in Population Development [PPD] which attracted technical, religious, and cultural leaders, CSOs, and the media.
During the meeting, it was also discovered that men’s involvement in family planning is completely low compared to women.
Agwaro further revealed that the health facilities registered 93 cases related to abortion, with Budaka health centre IV taking the lead with 72 cases followed by Kameruka , Kaderuna , Kamonkoli , Sapiri , and Kerekerene .
COVID 19, negative perception about the service, and limited information about Family Planning were some of the factors that affected the Family Planning services uptake.
Dr. Erisa Mulwani, the District Health Officer said the increasing rate at which young girls are delivering babies in the district is quite worrying.
“It’s quite a big challenge which is before us, and it calls for attention from various stakeholders to fight it, and that is the reason why we are here to make sure the district spear-heads family planning that we believe will help to reduce teen pregnancy, ”Dr. Mulwani said.
Dr. Mulwani noted with great concern that on a monthly basis, the health centers across the district records show that more than 50 teenagers deliver at different facilities.
Assistant District Health Officer in –charge Maternal, Ms. Hellen Wanyenze indicated that Budaka district has a high fertility rate of 7.3% much higher than the national of 5.3%.
She noted that family planning is key since it gives high dividend investment options for addressing Uganda’s high total fertility rate, high school dropout rates as a result of teenage pregnancy and high maternal morbidity and mortality, and ultimately the achievement of sustainable development as envisioned in vision 2040.
She also noted that there are no jobs for the increasing population in the district and this has become insecurity to the community.
Mr. Emmanuel Pajje, the Budaka LC5 chairman noted that the increasing teenage pregnancy has been mainly attributed to the high poverty levels in the district with many families eating once a day.
He said that the rate at which “babies” are mothering babies is indeed worrying and this comes with severe complications.
Mr. Patrick Mugirwa, the program manager of Partners in Population and development [PPD] said that the implications of early pregnancy are immense, affecting the girls and their parents emotionally and economically.
At the close of the two-day engagements the leaders agreed on three objectives which required the council to approve a work plan that integrates activities on family planning sensitization by May 2022, council approves health sector work plan that integrates activities for capacity building of health workers in counseling and management of FP side effects and the council to pass a resolution requiring the activities that target male involvement in FP annual work plans and budgets for the successive five years.