At least 22 primary school girls in Pallisa district have conceived during the lock down..

Niwandinda Daniel
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Okwalinga John Micheal Pallisa District Probation Officer
Pallisa, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |  At least 22 school girls in Pallisa district have conceived during the lock down. The affected are all primary seven pupils. Statistics from Pallisa District Probation Office show that the girls conceived between March and June this year.
Five of the 22 cases were reported to police, 11 at Action Aid Offices and the rest at the District Probation Office. John Michael Okwalinga, the Pallisa District Probation Officer, says many of the cases were reported from Gogonyo and Oloki Sub counties.
He says many young girls are being given out to men by their parents because of the biting poverty resulting from the lock down. Okwalinga also notes the laxity among parents to take care of their children adding that the fact the children are not in school they are now exposed to the environment that they have not been used to.
“Many parents don’t know where their children are. They are not playing their role to see that children are under their control, which has made them fall prey to men and fellow teenager. We are going to see a number of girls giving birth and HIV cases at the end of this year as a result of this pandemic,” he said.
According to Okwalinga, the Covid19 pandemic has worsened the problem of child mothers in the district, which has already been a huge challenge.
Dr. Godfrey Mulekwa, the Pallisa District Health Officer, says before the Covid19 Pandemic, teenage pregnancy in the district stood at 25%. He however, says the percentage has increased over the lock down period.
Kyeyune Sseyonjo, the Pallisa Resident District Commissioner has urged parents to take their parental responsibilities of taking care of their children and stop blaming the problem on the closure of schools because of the lock down.

Martin Ogule, a resident of Kasodo Sub County wants government to reopen schools such that their children can be occupied with books unlike now where they just sit at home, which makes them idle and end up roaming the villages.
“If schools were open children would be busy with their and come back home when they are exhausted, they would not find time to move around the trading centers like they are doing now. As parents we try but we can’t be around all the time because we have to provide for the families,” he said.
President, Yoweri Museveni announced a nationwide lockdown on March 17th as part of the Covid19 preventive measures.

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