Teenagers getting unwanted pregnancies have risen in the last two years among the school-going children according to the government officials and experts.

It comes at a time when the Rwanda Demographic Health Survey (RDHS) 2014-2015 shows that a large number of young people (including those still enrolled in school) are already engaging in sexual relationships that put them at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, among others.

According to the official data indicate that 19,832 underage girls were impregnated last year.

Statistics further indicate that in districts there were cases of under-age pregnancies; 1,465 were reported in Nyagatare, 1452-Gatsibo, 1064-Gasabo and 1,055-Kirehe.

Geraldine Umutesi, the Deputy Director-General of Imbuto Foundation, said that their findings call for giving children enough information about sexual reproductive health, with parents being at the forefront of the effort.

“The first key institution towards fighting teenage pregnancies in the family,” she said.

“It is the family that has to know how the child has slept, how their children have woken up and how the spent the day. Sometimes we think it is local government institutions that have to be the main fighters against teenage pregnancies, and we forget the family.”

Umutesi also emphasized the need to pay attention to the teens that have already been impregnated and those that impregnated them for counselling.

“One of the things this programme has been doing is to help change perceptions among people, as well as help them to know the services designed to prevent, or respond to early pregnancies,” she said.

Claudine Kanyamanza, the Executive Secretary of the National Council for Children, echoed similar sentiments about the responsibility of the family in-fighting teenage pregnancies.

For her, the main cause of the problem is the poor upbringing of children.

“There are challenges in the upbringing of our children. Our families have not provided enough value in the way they bring up children,” she said.

Richard Kaweesi, the Director of the spelling bee, Rwanda, said, that most pregnancies are engaged in government schools because most of the students schooled there are low-income earners. “And you find that they involve in sexual intercourse because they are tempted to fall into temptations of men who lure them with money,” Kaweesi pinned.

“Everyone wants sex and young teenagers can be used in the exchange of money especially by the older generation,” he said.

Ammon Muberuka, Africa regional Ambassador for Afrocacy, a Pan-African non-profit organization that deals that empowers youth, he believes that the main reasons in the increase of the teenage pregnancies are the ignorance of their rights. Some youth doesn’t know that being underage is protected by the law. Therefore, some cases end up being unreported.

He also added parents do not open up on the topics of the sexual reproductive health. “The communication between parents and teachers is very low hence teenage end up falling in the traps because of ignorance,” he said

The Express News

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