By Davis Mugabi
UNFPA Uganda’s Fact Sheet on teenage pregnancies in 2021 shows that Uganda’s maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) stood at 336 deaths per 100,000 live-births.
Regarding maternal mortality rates, 17.2 percent of the deaths were among those aged 15-19.
According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics UBOS (2018), almost a quarter (one in four or 25%) of Ugandan women has given birth by the age of 18.
For many reasons, especially those brought about by the Covid-19, teenage pregnancies increased across the country in 2021.
As a result, a total of 290,219 teenage pregnancies were recorded from January to September 2021, translating to over 32,000 monthly.
This is likely to surpass numbers in 2020 by end of year.
Prominent among the regions are Lango, Buganda, Busoga and Tooro/Rwenzori.
See distribution below:
Busoga: the most affected district were Kamuli (6,535) and Mayuge (6,205 teenage pregnancies).
North Central: the most affected districts were Mukono (5,535) and Luweero (4,545).
Lango: (Oyam 6,449 and Lira 4,697).
South Central: (Wakiso 10,439 and Rakai, 2711).
West Nile: (Arua 4,705 and Yumbe 3,973).
Tooro/ Rwenzori: Kasese (7,319) and Kyenjojo (4,341).
About 2 in 10 (18.9%) pregnancies in all women attending first antenatal care were among teenagers in 2020.
• 6 in 10 (60.3%) child births among teenagers were under skilled health personnel in 2020
The number of teenage pregnancies increased by 6.4% between 2017 and 2018, then reduced by 2.1% from 2018 to 2019 and then by about 0.9% between 2019 and 2020.
• Although there is no marked increase in teenage pregnancy between 2019 and
2020, however it is worth noting there is marked increase in teenage pregnancy within districts in 2020 (49.3% that is 67/136).
• A total of 290,219 teenage pregnancies were recorded from January to September 2021, translating to over 32,000 monthly, likely to surpass numbers in 2020 by end of year.
The figure above shows that teenage pregnancy has generally stagnated since
• 43% of women 25-49 years reported having married by 18 years in 2016.
• 20.7% married adolescents (15-19 years) use modern contraceptive methods in 2016.
• 30.4% of married adolescent girls (15-19 years) have unmet need for family planning (for spacing and limiting) in 2016.
• 21.9% of currently married adolescents (15-19 years) had met need for family planning in 2016.
• 40.3% among sexually active unmarried adolescents use modern contraceptive methods in 2016 (UBOS, 2018).
Credit: UNFPA Uganda