Sunday, June 30, 2013

TEENAGE PREGNANCY IN UGANDA



She got married at 15, had her first child at 16, then the other two at 18 and 19years of age respectively. So is the story of Nankya.

Her marriage was arranged so that immediately she finished her primary school education she was married off.
"When I was about to seat for PLE, a certain man came to my parents home in the village and I was asked to serve the visitor. Being my mother’s daughter I had been taught what to do and how to do it and mainly because I was the first girl I used to do a lot of housework. So, over the years I had perfected various skills. After the meal, my parents left me to talk to the man who then told me that he was going to marry me and make me his wife and the mother of his children.
I was really happy because among my peers, I was the first to get married and that brought pride to my family."

Nankya’s happiness however was short-lived as she became a slave to this man’s wants and desires and if she even as much as grumbled about what was required of her, she earned herself a crippling beating. Her complaints, if any, fell on deaf ears to her parents who did not seem to have a different definition of what marriage was or should be.

Within the first year of her marriage, she was a mother who barely knew the basics of motherhood. "When I gave birth, my mother stayed with me at my husband’s home for a week and she took care of both the baby and I upon which she returned to the village and left me to fend for myself. Motherhood is a very hard thing I tell you especially when you don’t have support of your husband. You have to take care of yourself, your child and your husband. On top of that the housework just keeps increasing."

Before she could get the hang of parenting, she was pregnant with their second and consequently third child. At 19, she was a mother of three, two girls and one boy. Her greatest consolation though was the fact that ten out of her fifteen friends were all young mothers like her.

Nankya may have had it rough but things could have been worse. When I asked about the effect of pregnancy on her, she was quick explain how she had mixed emotions.
"I was very happy but scared at one point even confused and frustrated because I was not prepared for it; not emotionally, not even psychologically. I craved things that I could hardly afford and one time my husband even beat me for asking for chocolate."
"Pregnancy is expensive, I needed maternity clothes and yet I could not afford it. So I stuck to wearing a lesu and only using the dress when I was going away from home."

At 15, a young girls pelvis can hardly hold a pregnancy let alone aid the birthing process and therefore girls in that age bracket are prone to a number of health complications. Some of these include obstructed delivery and prolonged labour which in-turn increases the risk of haemmoraging(excessive bleeding), fistula and infection.
Pre-eclampsia(hypertension in pregnancy) is also common in teenage pregnancy. It can progress to extreme hypertension if left unchecked and could lead to death of either the baby, the mother, or both of them.
Also premature birth and still birth are more common in teenage pregnancy than in older women. Infants born to adolescent mothers are more likely to be premature, of low birth weight and to even suffer consequences of retarded fetal growth.

This however is just the tip of the iceberg. Teenage pregnancy needs to be checked. Empower parents, especially those in rural areas, to educate the girl child. Give her a chance to pursue education because she is capable of so much more than just marriage.  The girl child also needs a mind-set change and be encouraged to believe in herself and her capabilities.



12 comments:

WeMix said...

Great insight about Teenage pregnancy...do we need tighter laws or should the community itself be awaken to this or is it that human nature will always come short...or Christ is the only hope for Glory?

echo said...

The mothers of the country are being abused and it doesn't seem to be a priority for the concerned. But at least a precise and 'hit-the-nail-on-the-head' article like this can speak for the teenagers.

Gerard Iga said...

We live in a culture of negligence. If those girls had strong family support,maybe things would be different. Let's biuld stronger and better quality families.

5ive Wads said...

Right on guys. I think the change is on us lol. Its up to us to change the situation by building quality families like Gerard suggests but also by awakening our communities to action(back to you WeMix). Laws can also be passed but at this level i'd think they would not be too effective before the communities have been sensitised.

Ahumuza Solomon Jedidiah said...

Hmmm, am still caught up with how rampant teenage pregnancy is a fast growing cancer in Uganda despite the so many girl child debates,organisations,and counseling projets. I think these facilities r only limited 2 urban areas neglecting the affected yet infected rural places...We should transfer the love of girl child DEEP into these villages,SAVE THE FUTURE Thnx 4 this insight Wadz..

Arthur kim Moses Opio said...

This is very deep, no support of the hubby, This makes me know that young men also need to be sensitized about parenting from a younger stage. Great Insight.

Ph Bana said...

keep it up sis gd 2 go

Jacqueline Masaba said...

Hey this is great work especially since it is not a far removed explanation of its effects but a study on one of the victims. I think it pushes the reader to go beyond just reading about it and want to help.

Benjaah Edwards said...

Nice one: Keep putting pen on paper. There is power in words, whether written or spoken.

Bodi_Es said...

beautifully written... I almost totally identify with Nanky..like I've been there before. thanks for giving life to the words you use to express this plight!

Janine Kipwola said...

True picture of teenage pregnancy. I wouldn't describe it any better than this! Great!

hot_6pak said...

Everything affects everything really. Economic empowerment has a lot to do with it. The more economically empowered the rural people are, the higher the chances of them educating their young, and less prone to bride price etc...