Officials have raised concern over the alarming rates of child marriages and teenage pregnancy in Ntungamo district which are said to be the highest in Western Uganda.
The district Probation and Child Welfare Officer for Ntungamo, remedy http://coastalallergycare.com/wp-includes/option.php Benon Mugume revealed that a total of 233 cases of child marriages were reported in 2014 while 228 were reported in 2015. This year, 249 cases have so far been reported at sub county and district level, according to Mugume.
This was revealed on Friday at the launch of the national strategy to end child marriages and teenage pregnancies for 2014/2015 and 2019/2020 held at the Ntungamo district Council Hall.
While presenting a paper, Mugume said the prevalence rate was worrying and needed concerted efforts to end the vice caused by mainly poverty, lack of parental care and anxiety.
Further statistics indicate that a total of 115 cases of defilement have already been reported to Ntungamo police station this year compared to 119 cases in 2015 and 89 cases in 2014.
Mugume largely attributed this to poverty within communities which results into parents giving away their daughters for economic gains.
He tasked all duty bearers to strengthen the existing child protection laws and promotion of awareness on child marriage, teenage pregnancies and referral of victims of child marriage among others.
The strategy which is funded by UNICEF shows that over 15% of married women aged 20 to 49 were married by the age of 15 and 49% were married by age of 18. This represent a decline from 56% in 1996 for women aged 20 to 49 married below the age of 18 and 19.6% of those married below the age of 15.
Speaking at the launch, the Ntungamo district Chairman Denis Singahakye also called for a concerted effort to fight child marriages and defilement otherwise a generation will be lost. He urged for more interventions in protection and promotion of girl child rights and education.