UWOPA to Introduce Motion to Debate the Plight of Pregnant Girls
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has asked the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) to introduce a motion to discuss the plight of pregnant girls in Church Schools who are declining to enroll.
Female legislators want the government to punish schools that have declined to enroll pregnant and lactating learners.
However, the matter divided members of Parliament as some defended religious schools for upholding their values.
Meanwhile, Advocates of girl child rights together with (UWOPA) have expressed dismay with the number of girls who have been sent away from schools and asked the government to crack the whip on defiant schools.
Addressing a joint press briefing in Kampala (UWOPA) and civil society organizations have demanded that the ministry of education jointly works with the ministry of Gender to ensure that special rooms are established at schools to allow teenage mothers to nurse their babies while at school.
The rate of teenage pregnancy which increased to 25% in Jan 2022 from 14% by January 2020 informed government decision on schools to enroll pregnant and lactating students. However, this government directive has faced resistance especially from church-founded schools which have concerned advocates.
Advocates now want the Ministry of Education to disseminate age-appropriate education on reproductive health rights so that teenage girls have sufficient information on sexual rights.
They called on the religious, cultural leaders to adhere to government directives and encourage teenage mothers in their communities to return to schools.
According to the united nations Population Fund -( UNFPA) recent report at least 644,955 teenage pregnancies were recorded during the Covid-19 induced lockdown in Uganda. An estimated 354,736 teenage pregnancies were reported following the closure of all schools in the country for at least eight months.
An additional 290,219 pregnancies were reported between January and September 2021.