LACK OF PROPER records of teenage pregnancy remains a challenge despite efforts to curb the vice by both government and civil society organisations.
This observation was made, on Wednesday, during a national awareness meeting on teenage pregnancy.
The meeting brought together officials from the National Children’s Council (NCC), local leaders and CLADHO, a civil society organisation.
Officials said that reporting cases of gender based violence, which result into teenage pregnancy, is still a challenge in society and this affects proper planning to support and find solution on how to fight the issue.
There were no definite figures of how many teenagers were impregnated countrywide over the years but in a rapid assessment carried out in 10 districts by CLADHO, the umbrella of human rights organisations in Rwanda, indicated that the issue is still alarming.
The rapid assessment carried out this year in 52 sectors, revealed that 818 teenage girls got pregnant before they reached 18 years with in a period of just two years.
The highest percentage of teenage pregnancies was recorded in Huye District (14.2 per cent), followed by Kicukiro District with 12.8 per cent, while the lowest percentage was recorded in Gicumbi District, with 6.2 per cent.
Dr Claudine Uwera Kanyamanza, the executive secretary of NCC, said there is need for all actors to play their respective role to ensure teenage pregnancy and gender based violence cases are reported on time so that measures are taken to deal with such issues.
The 2014/15 Demographic and Health survey showed that teenage pregnancy rates in Rwanda increased from 6.1 per cent in 2010 to 7.3 per cent in 2015.
“We need to work together to know who are the girls being violated and carry early pregnancy so that they are supported,” said Kanyamanza.
“What we wish is to have the issue presented and we have tangible figures so that these girls who are violated are supported so we can give them hope for the future and help them raise the babies they bear,” she added.
She called on everybody to play their role saying that it was the only possible way to help young females to live a better life.
It is everyone’s responsibility to do something so that we fight violence against children, it is a challenge if we still have children who are violated by own fathers or old mothers who sleep with their male children,” she said.
Jean-Leonard Sekanyange, CLADHO chairperson, said there was need for more efforts by local leaders and parents to ensure pregnancy and other GBV cases among teenage girls are minimised.
“All the problems faced by women occur before the eyes of local leaders at the village level but you realise that no attention is being paid, for instance in Gasabo District, a 16 year-girl was impregnated and issued with death threats but she later got married and lived in a house owned by a local leader, I think local leaders should work hard to report teenage pregnancy cases,” said Sekanyange.
Languida Nyirabahire, Gasabo vice mayor in charge of social affairs, said they would intensify efforts to sensitise parents and children about their rights, to ensure no one is victimised just because they are ignorant.