By Patrick Okino
Abortion is the fourth killer of women in Uganda and a total of 297,000 abortions are done every year, the United Nations Population Fund country representative, Esperance Fundira has said.
About 7,200 mothers die yearly and more than 144,000 survive death but develop serious complication in the process of giving life including obstetrics fistula according to UNFPA.
Speaking at the lunch of safe motherhood on Thursday at Apac Boma ground, Fundira said out of these 140,000 occurred among girls between the ages of 15 and 24.
The speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga was the chief guest at the lunch. State minister for primary health care, MPs, LC5 chairpersons in Lango sub region attended the commemoration under the theme “teenage pregnancy an obstacle to safe motherhood: Let us stop it now.”
“Another commonest condition amongst these young girls is obstetric fistula and obstructed labour often due to small size of the birth cannal amongst these children,” she said.
She said teenage pregnancy contributes to loss of economic potential due to foreshortened education lost opportunities and constrained life options.
“This should call for a social movement to prevent forced early-marriage and teenage pregnancy. This social movement, everybody and institutions should be responsible and have roles to play to prevent, manage and mitigate teenage pregnancy,” she added.
Speaker Kadaga warned parents against marrying off their young daughters and girls against receiving gifts from strangers.
“Men don’t give you free gift under all means you need to pay,” Kadaga said on Thursday adding that girls should stay in schools and study.
Responding to alarming condition of health facilities in the country, Kadaga said in their budget the government will procure 100 ambulances for health centres and distribution of bicycles to all village team members.
Minister Opendi said Apac hospital and Aduku health centre IV will be rehabilitated with the financial assistance from World Bank.
She urged local leaders to set up a byelaw to force mothers to go and deliver in the health facility.