“It should be a responsibility of every leader to find means of stopping girls from engaging in sex at an early stage."
PIC: Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, the director general of the National Population Council addressing a press conference ahead of the World Population day. (Credit: Eddie Ssejjoba)
KAMPALA - Having sex at an early age accounts for the higher rates of teenage pregnancies and school dropouts for girls in village communities, Dr. Jotham Musinguzi, the director general of the National Population Council, has revealed.
He said girls in rural communities are still vulnerable, with no or little access to information about reproductive health and family planning and therefore are unable to prevent pregnancies once they get involved in sexual activity.
Musinguzi appealed to leaders at various levels to focus on stopping girls from dropping out of school, mainly due to pregnancies, which he believes has denied many of them the opportunity to acquire skills for gainful employment, and therefore live in abject poverty.
“It should be a responsibility of every leader to find means of stopping girls from engaging in sex at an early stage and help them access information to prevent them conceiving."
The population boss said girls in urban settings had higher chances of remaining in school because they are able to access information and therefore can avoid early sex and pregnancies.
He was recently briefing journalists during a pre-World Population Day conference at his office at Statistics House in Kampala on the challenges the country is facing in regard to population and development issues.
This year's national celebrations will be held at Bobi Community Polytechnic in Omoro district on Wednesday.
'Leaving nobody behind: improving service delivery and accountability’ is this year's theme.
National figures indicate show that 25% of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are either pregnant or already mothers.
“Such trends are not good for development. Girls miss out on education and have higher chances of remaining in poverty since they lack the skills to get employment,” Musinguzi said.
He added that high teenage pregnancies and high fertility are associated with poverty and areas with high figures are still experiencing low development.
He urged parents, teachers and community leaders especially in rural settings to pass on information about reproductive health to young girls and help them stay longer in schools if Uganda is to realise meaningful development.