Risk factors of adolescent pregnancy in Kabale District, Uganda
Kyokwijuka, Besigiroha Gad Moses
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Adolescents in Uganda are increasingly starting sexual intercourse at early ages in their lives. Hence the study offers an in-depth analysis of the relative contribution of some sociodemographic factors in explaining adolescent pregnancy in Kabale district. Using primary data collected from different parts of the district, a sample of 301 female adolescents in age range of 10-24 years was studied. Results from the above models indicate that the level of education, place of residence, sex and age had significant impact on the dependent variable (adolescent pregnancy) while place of birth, religion and ethnicity were not significantly connected to adolescent pregnancy. The majority of the respondents were from rural areas. Adolescents who were peasants and rural based had a high percentage of pregnancy compared to those from urban areas. Some of the risk factors that were likely to affect adolescents to have unwanted pregnancy were; peasantry, coming from a rural area, staying with parents, exposure to television messages, poor economic status, print media, lack of privacy, marriage before 18 years, lack of sex education and counselling against pregnancy. These factors were considered to pose high risks to adolescents because of studies that have been carried out by UNBOS, WHO, UNFPA and other health international organizations in developing countries. The district health team should therefore intensify health education through information, education and communication materials geared towards risk reducation of adolescent pregnancy. These materials should mainly target peasents and adolescent girls. Kabale district local council should lobby for a loan scheme from the central government, NGOs and other donors for the people to start income generating projects to reduce household poverty and also enact a by-law for girl children not to marry before the age of 18 years. Advocacy for proper house designs to ensure privacy between children and parents should be done by the district local leaders. Sex education should be started as early as 12 years by parents and teachers. The study therefore recommends effective programs for adolescents with their involvement. There is great benefit in strengthening their knowledge and skills through sex education. Greater efforts are essential in dealing with their special needs and appropraite services should be made available.