Government plans to secure a DNA testing machine by 2016 as part of efforts to reduce cases of child neglect caused by paternity disputes.
This was announced last week during the launch of a report by ACORD, a development based research firm, highlighting the state of gender based violence in the country.
“There is a habit of men denying responsibility after making girls pregnant, we, therefore, hope acquisition of this machine will sort that out,” said Henriette Umulisa, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion.
A survey conducted by ACORD in 1,902 homes in four districts, particularly targeting females in the age range of 14 and 24, revealed that about 735 of respondents were found to have had unplanned pregnancy and births before, with 6 per cent of the cases having occured in the last four years.
At least 576 of them were under-20 years and heading their own families.
Francois Munyentwari, the director of ACORD, said the DNA machine would make it easy to identify the biological parents of the abandoned children, and bring them to book.
Results of DNA tests are usually ready within two weeks, with a 99.9 per cent accuracy rate.
“Because of unfaithfulness in marriage many people have suspicion that some children may actually not be theirs biologically, so we hope that will end with the acquisition of the machine,” said Gaston Bahinda, a resident of Kimironko, and father of two.
Janvier Gatabazi, the founder of Hospi, a local NGO, which advocates for children’s rights, welcomed the move, saying many children end up on the streets over parental disputes.
“We hope the facility will be accessible to people even in villages at an affordable cost,” he said.