Saturday, April 13News That Matters

Unintended pregnancy among adolescent girls.

The heavily pregnant girl – no more than 12 years old – looks down at her hands as the local council chairman asks about her latest visit to the doctor.
It is the sort of question a family member should be asking, but this is no normal pregnancy.
The girl lives on her own in a small home, in Kitgum district, and is expected to give birth any day.
Her parents’ cassava business failed, so they returned to their village to find money for the family.
“She was left here because here is a little bit nearer to the schools,” chairman Obita David Livingstone says.
“But the unfortunate part, the next room here is where people drink. That alone has exposed her to a lot of challenges.”
No-one knows who the father is, or what happened.
“In a week, we always have like three cases of defilement. Sometimes when we get the perpetrator, we have to tie them with ropes and take them, escort them to the police. But they don’t bother to follow it up.”
He is fed up with such levels of impunity.
“There is nobody who can really support the person who has been raped. To me I look at this justice as a weak justice,” the local chairman says.
Defilement means unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl below the age of 18.
According to Uganda’s Health Management Information System, pregnancies among girls between the ages of 10 and 14 increased by 366% during the country’s first Covid lockdown (March-June 2020).
At the regional general hospital in Gulu nearly a quarter of all pregnancies in the last financial year were girls under 18, the age of consent in Uganda.

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