HomeSocialMp Kanyike tasks the government on ending teenage pregnancies.

Mp Kanyike tasks the government on ending teenage pregnancies.

By Jimmy Twist

Parliament

Bukoto East Member of Parliament Kanyike Ronald Evans calls upon the government to increase funding for the probation and social welfare departments of districts to boost their capacity in the fight against teenage pregnancies and child abuse.

Kanyike made the call on the floor of Parliament while debating on a statement presented by the Vice President Hon. Maj. (Rtd) Dr. Jessica Alupo Rose Epel on the National Campaign against defilement, early marriages, and failed parenthood. 

In his submission, Kanyike observed that whereas district probation officers are charged with the responsibility of coordinating the implementation of policies and programs aimed at preventing the occurrence of vulnerable children in the community, they are not well facilitated to fulfill their mandate.

“I consulted the Masaka District leadership about the budgetary allocation given to the Probation officer and was informed that only shs 550,000/= is allocated for each financial year quarter to do activities regarding family social welfare, juvenile crime and child abuse. This is worsened by lack of transport since they are not provided with cars and motorcycles to traverse the entire district,” said Kanyike.

The statement presented by the Vice President emanated from a November 22 Cabinet meeting at State House Entebbe where ministers discussed and approved a paper presented by First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Janet Museveni on a national campaign against defilement, early marriages, and failed parenthood.

Ms. Museveni’s paper was informed by increased cases of domestic violence, defilement, and teenage pregnancy in the country since March 2020 when the first Covid19 lockdown was instituted. 

According to a study by United Nations Population Fund, a total of 354,736 teenage pregnancies were registered in 2020 while 290,219 teenage pregnancies were recorded from January to September 2021, translating into an average of 32,000 teenage pregnancies per month.

The activities which will be carried out during the one year campaign include sensitization of the public about the dangers of defilement, early marriages, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), HIV/AIDS, and teenage pregnancies; mobilization of political leaders at all levels, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), development partners, the private sector, the academia, and community leaders to participate and support the campaign goals; as well as social dialogues with religious leaders, cultural leaders, political leaders, parents and guardians on responsible parenting.

Her Excellency, the Vice President will lead the Executive arm of Government during the National Campaign while Hon. Members of Parliament will lead this National Campaign in their constituencies.

In response to VP Alupo’s statement, female MPs criticized their male colleagues for acting irresponsibly. “Today I was informed of a young mother that came here with a child of six months whose father is one of us [MPs] here and has failed to take responsibility of the child. Can we be role models as we speak about the aspect of parenthood?” submitted Tororo District Woman MP Achieng Sarah Opendi.

Deputy Speaker Anita Among said: “I am tired of counselling women here. Women come here with children. It is the MPs who impregnate these girls and abandon them. Just imagine this girl is your daughter, someone impregnates her and refuses to take care!”

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