A new study by researchers from Makerere University School of Public Health that was conducted between September and October 2020 discovered that up to 56% of girls between ages of 18 and 24 had their first sexual intercourse before the age of 18.
The same study also found out that 43% of the babies born in 2020 were unplanned. The report indicates that 70% and 52% of pregnancies among rural and urban adolescent girls (15 to 19 years) in 2020, respectively, were unintended.
The research, which was spearheaded by Dr Simon Kibira, a lecturer at Makerere University was conducted in 122 villages and 4,270 households across the country by a team of researchers from the university and National Bureau of Statistics.
Kibira attributes the unintended pregnancies to limited knowledge of sexual reproductive health services and early engagement in sexual activity by teenagers as well as rape.
“The proportion of women who are using family planning methods is very small compared to the total number of women who are sexually active,” Dr Kibira said.
According Dr. Ben Kibirige, a national trainer on sexual reproductive health rights, the government should increase access to contraceptives for teenagers to curb unplanned pregnancies.
“Adolescent women make up one-quarter of the female population and they account for 14 per cent of total [annual] births in the country. More than half of the pregnancies among adolescents in Uganda are unintended and 30 per cent end in abortion,” Kibirige said.
The study also discovered that only 45% of sexually-active women are using family planning methods which puts them at high risk of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases