Youth leaders task gov’t to stock more condoms in health centres

NYC Chairperson Mr. Jacob Eyeru addressing journalists on Tuesday

KAMPALA, UGANDA: A section of Ugandan youths through their leadership under the National Youth Council (NYC) have urged the Ministry of Health (MOH) to restock condoms in health centers across the country

Mr. Jacob Eyeru, the NYC Chairperson while speaking to journalists at their offices on Tuesday said the high rate of Teenage pregnancies is largely due to unprotected sex which youths engage in especially during these two years the Covid lockdown.

“If you are having a big population of people who are having unprotected sex and you cannot monitor them, then what you do is have them protected,” Eyeru said.

He added that during their first sitting which was conducted in all the regions of Uganda, teenage pregnancies were pointed out as one of the most disturbing problems. These people are dormant, we may be protecting the population against COVID-19 while breeding another problem,” he said.

“Condoms can be provided across the country at health centers so that they are available and free. They were available in youth corners but these are no longer there,” he added

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Girls who are already pregnant, Eyeru said should be allowed to receive antenatal care immediately, and “when we reopen schools we should allow them back,”

Teenage pregnancies have been on the rise since the outbreak of the covid pandemic due to the lockdown.

The September 2020 Human Right Focus Uganda (HURIFO) reported for example revealed that 4,062 cases of teenage pregnancies had been recorded in six out of eight districts in Acholi sub-region within five months of the pandemic.

Francis Odongyoo, the Executive Director, HURIFO told journalists that the 4,062 cases of teenage pregnancies were collected from the Acholi sub-region, excluding data from Omoro and Kitgum who are yet to release theirs.

“4,062 cases of teenage pregnancy registered in Acholi sub region excluding figures from Kitgum and Omoro districts,” he said.

Girls, he added thought schools will not be opened while others said they couldn’t wait for COVID-19 to kill them before getting an offspring (a child) while others lack parental support at home during the pandemic,” Odongyoo is quoted to have said.

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A recently released survey titled Sauti Za Wanainchi, conducted by Twaweza in Kampala, Kyotera as Tororo also indicated that eight out of ten citizens (79%) said teen pregnancy has become a bigger problem during the Coronavirus pandemic, and half say physical (51%), emotional (51%) and sexual (46%) violence has got worse.

Eyeru said this should be addressed as soon as possible “because we shall not afford to lose 40,000 or 50,000 youths to teenage pregnancy.”

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