Dr. Henry Mwebesa, Director-General of Health Services, is urging all stakeholders to unite in promoting adolescent health, as teenage pregnancy rates remain alarmingly high in Uganda.

According to the latest Demographic Health Survey of 2021, the country recorded an average of 24% teenage pregnancies, underscoring the urgent need for continuous education and awareness efforts across all sectors, emphasized Dr. Mwebesa.

“This responsibility falls not only on the government but on everyone. To the media, I urge you to disseminate this message widely to mobilize parents, teachers, and religious leaders, as this is a battle we must all engage in,” asserted Dr. Mwebesa.

Addressing a media breakfast meeting in Kampala on Monday, Dr. Mwebesa emphasized the recent focus on providing guidance and education to teenagers in schools regarding adolescent health and the risks associated with early pregnancy, emphasizing prevention as paramount.

Narrating their recent visit to KCCA health centers, Mwebesa noted that concerns were raised about the high numbers of teenage girls seeking antenatal care, and he reechoed the need for strengthened efforts in this area.

Dr. Richard Mugahi, Commissioner of Reproductive and Infant Health Services, pointed out the risks teenage mothers face due to underdeveloped reproductive systems, including the possibility of obstructed labor leading to fistula conditions.

Recent data from the Health Ministry revealed that 27% of maternal deaths in Uganda occur among mothers below 24 years old, with 18% being teenagers, often due to unsafe abortion practices.

Districts such as Kitagwenda, Mubende, Namisindwa, and Soroti have been identified with high prevalence rates of fistula cases among teenage girls experiencing childbirth complications.

Dr. Mugahi also called for a coordinated effort among stakeholders, as vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) can only be corrected through surgery, a service that is both scarce and expensive.

Key drivers of teenage pregnancies include poverty, lack of access to comprehensive information, sexual violence, limited contraceptive access, and early marriages.

Kimera Abdul is a Senior Journalist with Plus News Uganda. He identifies as an adaptable and enthusiastic individual who works to inspire generations. He posses a Diploma and Broadcast journalism and has... More by Kimera Abdu

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