Amuru sub county in Amuru distric,Ugandat has registered 170 cases of teenage pregnancies within 35 days of the second lockdown. This was established in a survey conducted by the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) Uganda, a non-governmental organization in partnership with Amuru sub county through the Village Health Team (VHT).
Albert Ladaa, the Assistant Community Development Officer in Amuru sub county told URN on Tuesday that the most affected are girls in primary five and six aged between 15 and 17 years. He says that the report implicates parents for neglecting their roles and duties in protecting young girls and children from abusers.
David Ocira, the Amuru sub county LC 3 chairperson says that the number captured by the survey is far less because many more cases are neither reported nor documented.
He disclosed that the sub county has embarked on massive awareness creation on the protection of young girls and children against abusers. Ocira revealed that several culprits have been arrested in connection to teenage pregnancies while many are still on the loose.
During the first nationwide lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amuru registered 620 cases of teenage pregnancies, according to a report from the Human Rights Focus. In total, Acholi sub region registered 4,062 cases of teenage pregnancies.
The Acholi Paramount Chief, Rwot Onen David Acana II, who condemned the perpetrators of teenage pregnancies and teen marriages blamed the vice on economic hardship, lack of parental care and guidance arising from the lockdown.
Sheikh Musa Khalil, the Khadi Acholi Muslim District on the other hand called for collective responsibility in ensuring a safe, healthy and violent free environment for young girls. Michael Lakony, the Amuru district LC V chairperson said they have come with several initiatives including the reporting boxes at village level on child abuse and follow-ups in homes to uphold the rights of children during the lockdown.
Brenda Aromorach, the coordinator for Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) in Gulu district appealed for child protection during the lockdown, saying early pregnancies and marriages jeopardizes the development of a country.