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Kagera grapples with early pregnancy cases

About 2, 527 girls under 18 years in Karagwe district were pregnant during 2018, forcing authorities to call for concerted efforts to curb the vice.

Karagwe District Executive Director (DED), Mr Godwin Kitonka, disclosed that the number of young girls becoming pregnant almost doubled compared to 2017 when 1,297 girls aged under 18 became pregnant (about 51.3 per cent).

Comparatively, the increase was almost 1,230 girls (about 48.6 per cent) recorded last year compared to the previous year, he said.

Kagera Regional Education Development Officer (REO), Mr Aloys Kamamba, revealed that about 229 girls dropped out of school due to early pregnancy between 2014 to last year.

Out of the number, 41 girls were attending primary school while 188 others were in secondary school.

Ngara district recorded a highest number, with 60 dropouts, six in primary school and 54 in secondary school.

Bukoba Rural district recorded 52 dropouts, six in primary school and 46 in secondary school. Missenyi district recorded 36 dropouts, eight in primary school and 28 in secondary school.

Biharamulo district recorded 28 dropouts, eight in primary school and 20 in secondary school. Karagwe district recorded 23 dropouts, four in primary school and 19 in secondary school.

Muleba district recorded 19 dropouts, nine in primary school and 10 in secondary school. Kyerwa district recorded five dropouts while Bukoba Municipal recorded six dropouts, all in secondary school.

Kagera region is among areas where school dropout rates for girls due to pregnancy are high. Despite this worrying trend, the situation shows no signs of improvement.

According to a survey carried out by the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, more than 16,000 girls dropped out of school from 2008 to 2010 due to pregnancy.

Meanwhile, thirty six-year old Modest Mutasingwa, a Kemondo villager in Bukoba Rural district, has been detained as police continue with investigations on allegations of raping and impregnating his own daughter.

Kagera Regional Police Commander (RPC), Revocatus Malimi explained that initial investigations revealed that Mutasingwa had for quite a long time been raping his daughter (13) (name withheld), who is a standard six pupil.

He also said another suspect, Ezekiel Stephano (31), the girl’s uncle, has also been arrested for molesting the pupil, adding that the suspects will be arraigned upon completion of investigations.

According to Mr Malimi, the settling of abuse cases outside court, allowing children to use smart phones that they used to download and watch pornographic images and lack of cooperation among community members regarding sexual offences are among factors that fuel the vices.

Pregnancies begin to occur as early as twelve years of age. The causes of this sinister reality are multiple, but its consequences are clear...low or very low quality of life, poor welfare, recurrent poverty and exclusion.

The warning comes amid reports indicating that violence against children increased in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year.

The Executive Director of Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Ms Anna Henga revealed that an average of 394 children were reportedly raped across the country each month from January to June, 2018, saying that major perpetrators include relatives and neighbours.

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Author: MEDDY MULISA in Bukoba

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