- East Africa
- Health - Women
Uganda: Shocking numbers of underage girls give birth on streets
Statistics from a recent survey carried out by a Ugandan NGO has revealed that a shocking number of over one hundred and thirty babies are born on the streets of Kampala city and other towns in the east African country every month by street children.
The director of the Children Uganda NGO, Faustin Ngorobe, believes that the Ugandan government should be held responsible for the neglect of the hapless street children, especially girls who do not only live on the streets but also end up getting pregnant and giving birth on the streets.
The result of a research carried out by Children Uganda revealed that the number of babies born on the streets by beggars and street children is increasing on daily basis with at least 5 babies being born every day to underage parents.
"The government has neglected the street children (...) It should remove them from the streets. The street children, the girls, engage in sex and give birth when they are not yet 18," argues Fautin Ngorobe.
Confirming the situation, Rita Nkemba, managing director of Dwelling Places, another NGO that caters to former street children and also runs a home for them in the suburb of Mutundwe in Kampala, reveals that many pregnant girls below the age of 18 are picked from Kampala streets every month.
"Many pregnant mothers are picked from the streets of Kampala every month according to child rights activists". According to Rita Nkemba, the "young girls run away from their parents and come to beg on the streets of Kampala."
Unprepared for the consequences, the girls "get pregnant on the streets" and are unable to get antenatal care. But whilst the lucky ones are taken to homes like Dwelling Places where they safely deliver in safe environments, most of the girls give birth under precarious and unhygienic conditions on the streets.
Sixteen year old Emily Nagujja, a street girl, said she had been "made pregnant by a man who guards at a supermarket", however, when she confronted him with the issue he swore to kill her if she ever dared come to him again.
"When I told him that he had made me pregnant, he threatened to kill me" she says.
Meanwhile, a government official, Philip Ongom, has tried distancing the government from the problem. According to him, despite the government introducing free education for all children, some parents have failed to take their children to school. Instead, they maltreat them, leading them to flee to the streets.
In order to put a stop the increasing anti-social phenomenon, Philip Ongom has warned that the government will react by arresting and prosecuting such parents in courts of law.
He has promised, in the meantime, the the government will soon have the street children rounded up and taken back to their homes.