Donned in different traditional attires, and some wearing t-shirts written on ‘books before babies’ the girls expressed their views through music, dance, drama and poems.
PIC: A group of teenage girls from Moroto district performing a traditional dance during the community outreach and awareness, health activities, sports, music, dance and drama held at Tal cottages in Kabusu, Kampala recently. (Credit: Shamim Saad)
KAMPALA - Adolescent girls from across the country have asked different partners to intensify efforts in the fight against teenage pregnancies and child marriages in the country.
Over the weekend, the young girls from over 20 districts gathered at Tal Cottages in Kampala for the national community awareness event on the above problems that have crippled the country in the recent past.
A 17-year old Sarah Mirija, from Iganga branch said teenage pregnancies in Iganga district are still very high, some girls as young as 14-years are getting pregnant and dropping out of school.
"Though a lot of work has been done to address the problem of teenage pregnancy, many young girls are still getting pregnant.
"We ask the partners to intensify the efforts further in dealing with this problem," she said
"Local and political leaders, parents and teachers all have a role to play to end teenage pregnancies and child marriages. Let us work together to end these vices," she added.
The Child Health Advisor, Ministry of Health Dr Sabrina Kitaka (Left) and the Project Manager, End Child Marriage Brac Uganda Florence Chandiru (Right) interacting during the community outreach and awareness, health activities, sports, music dance and drama held at Tal cottages in Kabusu, Kampala recently on Saturday. (Credit: Shamim Saad)
A one Chemutai, 16, from Nakapiripirit district said; "We still have many parents especially fathers forcing their teenage daughters to drop out of school and get married. A lot of focus should be put on changing fathers' attitude towards girls' education in our region," she said
Donned in different traditional attires, and some wearing t-shirts written on ‘books before babies' the girls expressed their views through music, dance, drama and poems.
The event was organised by Brac-Uganda and Dasha and was attended by over 500 girls from 1025 clubs across the districts where these clubs are.
Mayuge district was represented by a group girls taking part in the event. (Credit: Shamim Saad)
During the event, free health services were also provided, including testing for HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B, syphilis, pregnancy, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Dr. Sabrina Bakeera Kitaka, a senior lecturer, Pediatrics and Adolescent Health expert appreciated the girls for their commitment for being agents of change.
She however reminded them of the continued risk of STIs especially HIV, early pregnancy and its complications and advised them to abstain.
According to data released from the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2016 (UDHS) conducted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics between June 12 and December 18, 2016, the report indicated a 1% increase in teenage pregnancy from 24% in 2011 to 25% in 2016.
A 2013 World Vision study ranked Uganda 16th among 25 countries with the highest rate of child marriages, with 12% of girls marrying before they have reached the age of 15 and 46% being married off before they turn 18.016.
Florence Candiru, project manager, End Child Marriage, Brac-Uganda said the event is organised annually, where girls and their club patrons meet in Kampala, share experiences, knowledge through music, dance, drama and sports on how to work together to reduce teenage pregnancies as well as early child marriages.