Members of Parliament have expressed concern over the alarming rate of teenage pregnancies in the country.
State Minister for Finance, Hon. David Bahati, who presented a Statement on World Population Day to Parliament on 05th June 2017 said that the country faces serious population related challenges.
“The teenage pregnancy rate in Uganda remains high at 25% and this has stagnated for the last 10 years. This means that one out of every four of our teenage girls has had a baby before they reach 19 years. This is a matter of national concern,” he said.
Bahati told legislators that the current fertility rate of women in Uganda is high. Although the total fertility rate declined from 6.2 children per woman in 2011, to 5.4 children per woman in 2016, the rate is slower than the vision 2040 target.
He warned that the country needs to harness its bulging youthful population.
“Young people are the fastest growing segment of our population and their welfare is a fundamental input into key economic and social outcomes including the size and competitvness of our future labour force, and economic growth,” the Minister noted.
The Opposition Whip, Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju, said that government needs to be more vigilant and equip the youth with quality education, demand-driven vocational and technical skills.
“What is government doing to see to it that youth are equiped with quality education, vocational and technical skills? What help do you need in order to provide this and more to the youth of Uganda?” he asked.
Members noted that high poverty levels in the country were leading to a high rate of school dropouts.
Hon. Helen Kahunde (Woman, Kiryandongo) noted that in a candidate class one could find only 21 students.
“High poverty levels in the country lead to girls dropping out of school and getting married to boda boda riders. If a candidate class can have only six girls and 15 boys, government needs to stress the issue of social tranformation so that they participate in the development of the country,” she added.
The World Population Day will be marked on 11th July, 2017 under the theme: Strengethening Youth Competitvness for Sustainable Development. National celebrations will be held at Madibira Primary School in Busia Municipality.