By Marvin Ocol
A total of 290,219 teenage pregnancies were recorded from January to September 2021, translating to over 32,000 monthly.
Experts say this figure is likely to surpass numbers in 2020 by the end of year.
According to UNFPA Uganda’s Fact Sheet on Teenage Pregnancy in 2021, 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).
The trends on Teenage Pregnancies (TP) and child birth under skilled birth attendant among adolescents.
UNFPA Uganda reports that about 2 in 10 (18.9%) pregnancies in all women attending fist antenatal care were among teenagers in 2020 while 6 in 10 (60.3%) child births among teenagers were under skilled health personnel in 2020.
Regions most affected by Teenage Pregnancies
The six regions with the highest numbers of teenage pregnancies were; Busoga: the most affected districts 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).
Trend of Teenage Pregnancies during Covid-19 Percentage increase in teenage pregnancies from 2019 to 2020
67 districts registered an increase in teenage pregnancies from 2019 to 2020.
• 3 districts had increase in teenage pregnancies by over 25 percent from
2019 to 2020.
• These were; Dokollo (35.2%) in Lango, Budaka (28.7%) in Bukedi and Kaberamaido (28.6%) in Teso, and
• Manafwa (19.1%) in Bugisu, Sheema (18.1%) in Ankole, Amolatar (16.7%) in Lango, Bukwo (16.1%) in Bugisu and Buhweju (15%) in Ankole, Bulambuli (12.7%) in Bugisu and Napak (12.6%) in Karamoja.
• In 2020, the numbers of teenage pregnancies were the highest in: Wakiso (10,439), Kampala (8,460), Kasese (7,319), Kamuli (6,535), Oyam (6,449) and Mayuge (6,205).
The Trends of teenage pregnancy
Figures show that teenage pregnancy has generally stagnated since 2006.
• 43% of women 25-49 years reported having married by 18 years in 2016.
• 20.7% of 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 the need for family planning in 2016.
• 40.3% among sexually active unmarried adolescents use modern contraceptive methods in 2016 (UBOS, 2018).
It is worth noting that Uganda’s maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) stood at 336 deaths per 100,000 live-births and 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.
Credit: UNFPA Uganda (Fact sheet on teenage pregnancies, 2021).