The Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) has called on Parliament to enact policies aimed at tackling teenage pregnancies and supporting school health amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In the meeting with the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga at the Kampala Serena Conference Centre on Thursday, 02 July, 2020, Fatia Kiyange, the Deputy Executive Director of CEHURD said that there is need for a national school health policy to protect and promote the well-being of school communities.
“We need Parliament through its Committees on Health and Education to exercise its oversight role in inquiring into the policy gaps in school health,” she said.
Kiyange said that it is now necessary because of the rising challenges created by COVID-19 such as increasing teenage pregnancies as clearly highlighted in daily national news.
“There has been, for example, an unprecedented spike in news of young girls in Luuka and Kaliro districts getting pregnant during the lockdown,” she said adding that, ‘60 learners between the age of 14 and 15 in those districts were pregnant and likely to miss school when the school term re-opens’.
Kiyange added that the national school health policy should focus on effective school health interventions and provide a context for effective health related school programmes.
She called on the Speaker and Parliament to engage the government on implementation of the school health policy, fast-tracking of the parliamentary resolution to end teenage pregnancy and implementation of the 2015 National Strategy on ending child marriage and teenage pregnancies.
The Speaker acknowledged the concern citing sporadic reports in the media in different parts of the country with some cases of teenage pregnancies arising from incest.
Kadaga confirmed that Hon. Robina Nakasirye, the Kyotera Woman MP, had raised the matter of the national school health policy three months ago on the floor of Parliament asking why it had taken the Education Ministry so long to implement.
“This reminder is an energizer for us to call out the Ministry on its progress in implementing the national school health policy because ever since we passed those resolutions on teenage pregnancy, nothing has happened,” she added.
The Speaker promised to push the Committee of Health to come up with a resolution on the content of the national school health policy that would be debated in Parliament with aim of tackling all salient areas.
Kadaga, however, added that Parliament had already played the biggest part of this role in bringing these matters to the attention of the Prime Minister for action.
The Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) is an indigenous, non-profit, research and advocacy organization which is pioneering the enforcement of human rights and the justifiability of the right to health in Eastern Africa.