As preparatory measures for reopening of schools are underway, Dr.Cleophus Mugenyi on Monday asked schools to make arrangements to receive pregnant teenagers and mothers alongside other learners.
The Commissioner Basic Education at the Ministry of Education and Sports made the remarks while at the National Launch of School-Based Training of Teachers in Mbale District, where he revealed that the country has been registering 32,000 teenage pregnancies monthly according to a UN Population Fund study in Uganda.
RX Radio presenter Olive commenting on the subject, questioned whether the government has provided enough support to the pregnant girls and young mothers before sending them back to school.
“I agree that the young mothers should be let back into school because some of them are as young as 12 and it’s questionable about the future they are going to have if they don't go back. However, have they been provided with psychosocial help and counseling before returning there? Because going back to school when you're heavily pregnant is not a walk in the park,” she said.
Olive, saying that many of the girls who got pregnant are between the ages of 12 and 14, asked whether the government has already provided them with proper healthcare and medical attention since some are struggling with complications that result from early childbirth such as Fistula.
Fatboy, concerned about this, commented, “Receiving pregnant girls and teenage mothers in schools will require facilities to attend to the special needs of the young parents and their children which most schools might not be able to provide. I am not sure the schools will be ready to accommodate these needs such as providing daycare facilities for those breastfeeding.”
While referring to the State Minister of Education and Sports Dr. Joyce Kaducu who said that some learners may not return to school due to the impact of Covid on their lives, Olive opined that most of them won't return for reasons surrounding the high childbirth rates during the time girls have been out of school. “I think the majority won't return to school because some districts have been reporting an average of 3000 pregnancies a month. Now, how many of those are going to return to school? Most of them come from really humble backgrounds that even their parents can't afford to take care of them and their grandkids,” she said.
On 1st December 2021, Vice President Jessica Alupo presented a report to Parliament regarding the state of teenage pregnancies in the country. The report indicated that the country had registered 354,736 teenage pregnancies in 2020 and 295,219 more between January and September 2021.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, Sarah and Lesham every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.