Uganda’s teenage pregnancy rates are still ranking high at 25% according to statistics from the Ministry of Health.
ADJUMANI-Quinn Abenakyo the reigning Miss World Africa has cautioned teenagers especially girls against engaging in premarital sex.
Abenakyo 23, who is also the reigning Miss Uganda revealed that many young girls have not been able to achieve their dreams due to premarital sex which leads to teenage pregnancy.
"Teenage pregnancy is dangerous; it will deter you from attaining education, and lead to death sometimes. You need to avoid it," Abenakyo says.
UNFPA boss Alain Sibenaler holding a baby during the My Moment event in Adjumani district
Uganda's teenage pregnancy rates are still ranking high at 25% according to statistics from the Ministry of Health. This means, one in four girls in Uganda aged between 13 to 17 is either pregnant or has had a baby.
"If you want to become an important person in your community you need to avoid teenage pregnancy you need to stay in school and finish your studies," Abenakyo says.
She called upon young girls who have dropped out of school because of pregnancy to consider going back to school and pursue their dreams.
"When it happens and you give birth while at school, it is not the end of you. I'm not saying it is ok to get pregnant since you can go back to school, but if it happens you can go back to school and become whatever you want to be," Abenakyo says.
While addressing young people from Adjumani district who had gathered at Mayor's Garden in Adujumani town for the My Moment Event on Wednesday, Abenakyo encouraged parents to support such children and make sure they attain education.
"Parents can support these girls go back to school. Let those who cannot go back to formal school at least go for skilling," Abenakyo says.
The event which also featured discussions around issues of gender-based violence, child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and HIV was attended by former Miss Uganda beauty queens, 2017 Leah Kagasa and 2012 Phiona Bizzu. Miss Madi Brenda Abui also attended.
It was organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as one of the pre-events towards the World Population Day celebrations.
During the event, Kagasa advised the young people not to waste away in drugs but ensure they achieve their dreams by getting support from family and friends.
"Never ever go for drugs, they will ruin your life. Study hard and don't live a reckless life that will lead you into diseases like HIV or make you drop out of school," Kagasa says.
The UNFPA country representative Alain Sibenaler reveals that the large majority of adolescents are getting pregnant because there is an unmet need for family planning.
"They would like to avoid getting pregnant but they don't have the means, they don't have accessibility, they don't have the right information they don't have the good quality of service not to allow them to get pregnant.
He notes that half of adolescent pregnancies in Uganda are unintended at birth, one-third of these end in unsafe abortion and one-third of maternal deaths in Uganda are adolescents.
The My Moment Event brought together young people, and inspirational celebrities, leaders who shared their experiences as a way of inspiring young people to pursue their dreams.