Archbishop Kaziimba decries GBV, teenage pregnancies

KIBUKU– The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the Rt. Rv. Dr. Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu has decried the rising cases of gender-based violence [GBV] and teenage pregnancies in the country.

Speaking during his tour of Bukedi North Diocese at Kirika Church of Uganda in Kibuku district, Kaziimba, noted that cases of GBV and teenage pregnancies have continued to increase which he said, were exacerbated by Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.

“I call upon Christians, the Church and political leaders to collectively fight the vice. Many teenage girls are getting pregnant, Women are beaten by their husbands. A man who beats up his wife or any woman shows his highest level of weakness and is not fit to live in a modern society,” Kaziimba said.

He said the country today faces the challenge of ill-mannered husbands because parents have neglected boy children, who said grow without getting proper guidance on how to be good husbands and fathers.

“We have put all our efforts in mentoring the girl child and ignored boys and the well-disciplined girls at the time of marriage land into the hands of these poorly brought up men which explains the rampant cases of domestic violence,” he said.

Kaziimba further called upon boys and men to respect girls and women and treat them not only as sisters but as mothers.

According to the National Teenage Pregnancy Rate by Uganda Demographic and Health Survey [UDHS] report, Busoga Sub-region registered the highest number of teenage pregnancies, according to the survey.

According to the UDHS between 10-19 years from 2019 and 2020 in sub-regions, Busoga 89,347, Acholi registered 35,764, Ankole 35,677, Bugisu 38,790, Bukedi 48, 895, Teso 43099, Tooro 57660 and Bunyoro 57,295. Others include Karamoja 12,633, Kampala 19,209, Kigezi 18,065, Lango 59972, North central 74779, South Central 64137, and west Nile 57372.

The Bishop of Bukedi Diocese, Rev. Canon Samuel George Bogere Egesa further explained that tackling all forms of abuse should be everyone’s responsibility.

He also cautioned the young people to abstain from pre-marital sexual, adding that this may ruin their God-given future.

“The diocese strongly condemns any form of GBV and appeals to families and all people of goodwill to increase their moral responsibility to avert any form of violation. We call for extra attention and serious intervention in fighting GBV and teenage pregnancies in the country in order to have responsible Ugandans,” Bishop Egessa said.

Recently, during a regional dialogue on Building Champions for teenage Pregnancy prevention organized by Agency for Cooperation in Research and Development [ACORD] in conjunction with National Population Council (NPC) with support from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) at Tororo Rock Classic Hotel, Dr. Betty Kyandondo, the Director of Family Health National Population Council said about 10,000 girls are getting pregnant every day nationwide.

She said from 2018 to date, the country has registered over 350,000 cases of teenage pregnancy.

According to Dr Kyaddondo, the situation in the Bukedi sub-region is appalling as compared to national figures. According to the report more than 47,000 teenage girls were impregnated in Bukedi Sub-region during the two years in the country.

“In 2021, Kibuku, Butaleja and Butebo registered a higher percentage of pregnant women that are teenagers from all Antenatal care clients. The percentage of pregnant women that are teenagers in 10 months of 2021 exceeded those in 2019 and 2020,” she said.

Dr Kyaddondo said Bukedi registered an increase in the number of Teenage Pregnancies in 2020 from 23,829 in 2019 to 25,066 in 2020.

Statistics from the National Population Council indicate that Bukedi registered an increase in the number of teenage pregnancies from 23,829 in 2019 to 25,066 in 2020 and 22,944 in the months between January and October 2021.

The statistics also indicate that Tororo, Busia, and Pallisa have had the highest numbers of teenage pregnancies with 11480, 7558, and 7173 cases respectively. They are followed by Butaleja which registered 6,955 cases, Budaka 6515 while Kibuku registered 5498 and Butebo registered 2831 cases in the two years.

Recently, the Tororo District LC5 Chairperson, John Okeya, blamed the increasing number of teenagers in the country on poor parenting.

“Bad parenting is contributing to the vice. Good parenting is a key issue in fighting teenage pregnancy. You find young girls loitering in the trading centres at late hours and ask yourself if they have parents,” Okaya said.

He also partly blamed teenage pregnancy on poverty.

According to the police crime report of 2021, a total of 17,533 cases of domestic violence were reported to police compared to 17,664 reported in 2020, making 0.74 percent decrease.17,553 people were victims of domestic violence of whom 3,103 were adult males, 12,877 were adult females and 871 were male juveniles while 702 were female juveniles.

The same report indicates that 14,570 cases of defilement were reported in 2021 compared to 14,230 cases reported in 2020.

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