More teenagers are seeking antenatal care in Koboko hospital during this Covid-19 lockdown, medical workers have said.Statistics from the district hospital indicate that more than 835 teenage girls aged between 13 and 19 sought antenatal services at Koboko hospital from March to July.
Government in March closed schools countrywide as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Speaking to Daily Monitor at the Antenatal Care Unit, a 13-year-old expectant mother said men are now luring young girls into sexual intercourse. “I got pregnant after having unprotected sex with my boyfriend three months ago,” she said.
Even before the lockdown, cases of girls dropping out of schools have been high. For instance in 2017, about 8.1 per cent of the learners dropped out of school. In 2018, at least 5 per cent dropped out and in 2019, at least 3.5 per cent dropped out due to underage marriages and child labour, among others.
Mr Samuel Opit, the district crime intelligence officer, said they have registered many defilement cases during the lockdown. The district police report in March indicated that there were eight defilement cases, eleven in April, six in May, four in June, eleven in July, and seven in mid-August. “There is a lot of poor parental guidance and loss of public morals. This leads to early and unplanned pregnancies.
The future of these girls are dented as they may not return to school,” he said. The acting district education officer, Mr Wayi Dragamulayi, said: “The Covid-19 lockdown will affect enrolment when schools resume. He said children should be sensitised against rushing to engage in sex.
”Ms Lydia Ceyo, the project officer at Partners in Community Transformation, a non-governmental organisation, attributed the teenage pregnancies to lack of sexual reproductive health information. The district has continued to register low school completion rate of only 14 per cent in primary while only 12 per cent complete the education cycle.