“Their vulnerability is a message that hey need help, support, counsel and guidance and not a call for exploitation them for selfish desires and prospects”
On 20th March, 2020, the government of Uganda declared a nationwide lockdown which didn’t spare all learning institutions in the country. It’s now approximately 4 months while children are finding ways on how to cope up with studies while at home. Despite the many evils that have befallen families and communities due to the economic crisis in the country, some people have used the vulnerability of many young children as an opportunity to exploit and use them. As they are burdened to cope up with their studies amidst the lock down, teenage girls in our communities are being preyed on and the country seems to remain silent. Many, having been denied the right to speak in their families have been forced into marriage at such a tender age. The facts about teenage pregnancy are inordinately unbearable to be accepted and yet are true.
Approximately 12 million girls aged 15–19 years and at least 777,000 girls under 15 years give birth each year in developing regions. At least 10 million unintended pregnancies occur each year among adolescent girls aged 15–19 years in the developing world. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for 15–19-year-old girls globally. Of the estimated 5.6 million abortions that occur each year among adolescent girls aged 15–19 years, 3.9 million are unsafe, contributing to maternal mortality, morbidity and lasting health problems. Adolescent mothers (ages 10–19 years) face higher risks of eclampsia, puerperal endometritis, and systemic infections than women aged 20 to 24 years, and babies of adolescent mothers face higher risks of low birth weight, preterm delivery and severe neonatal conditions.
What we can see on the public scene is just a tip of the iceberg. How many young girls out there that have been sexually abused and remain silent because they have none to talk to about the matter? Many teenage girls may not continue with school because they have been impregnated however are we willing and ready to pay the price of uneducated mothers raising children that shall have to cope up with a rapidly developing Uganda? The fact remains that the children going through all these issues today are the future of Uganda and all the great things we build today shall crumble in their hands unless immediate action is taken to support them today.
For the sake of our sisters, daughters, mothers and the future of Uganda, I call upon every individual, the government and stakeholders in their different capacities to take on the mantle and join in the fight against teenage pregnancy. Remaining silent as the future of many young girls is devastated is a choice too. Today choose to stand up speak for the silent. Dear parents we urge you not to act brutally when the children go astray but rather counsel, guide and nurture them not to repeat the mistakes they did. We cannot leave the battle for the females alone because we have daughters , sisters and many loved ones. Dear fathers, protect your children from such inhumane acts that destroy the future of many young girls.
As the Mastercard Foundation Alumni At BRAC Uganda(MFABU) in coordination with Focus On the African Child (FOAC) and Excel Africa, we have chosen to lead in the fight against teenage pregnancy as youths through the Send A Chat 30-Day Campaign . In this, young people across the country design posters, flyers, and charts with content de-campaigning teenage pregnancy and these are posted via our social media platforms and pining posters in our communities. We are also engaging communities in discussions about teenage pregnancy through local radio stations. Join us today in the fight by raising your voice against teenage pregnancy in as many creative ways as possible among which are through SENDING A CHAT.
Silence about teenage pregnancy is catastrophic/ a ticking time bomb /time bomb to Uganda’s future.
Raise your voice against Teenage Pregnancy today through sending a chat.
By Agnes Cynthia Amoding, the social media campaign leader.