A total of 2495 teenage girls were impregnated in the last 12 months across Rwanda indicating a significant increase of 14.5% from 2017- figures from Demographic and Health survey indicate.
In 2018, the National Women Council set tough strategies aimed at significantly reducing the number of teenage girls that get pregnant across the country but results are the exact opposite or something is wrong.
In its Demographic and Health survey, government has released new statistics one year after this National Women Council agreed to restrain the challenge of teenage pregnancies.
It has emerged that 19,832 teenage girls were reported pregnant last year compared to 17,337 cases recorded in 2017.
Considering teenage pregnancies at the level of districts, Nyagatare had a total of 1,465, Gatsibo – 1,452 Gasabo – 1,064 Kirehe – 1,055.
Comparing with the 2014/15 Demographic and Health survey teenage pregnancy rates in Rwanda have been on a steady upward trend increasing from 6.1% in 2010 to 7.3% in 2015.
On a global scale, approximately 95% of teenage pregnancies occur in developing countries with 36.4 million women becoming mothers before the age of 18. Sub-Saharan Africa is believed to have the highest prevalence of teenage pregnancies in the world.
When the National Women Council met in 2017, it was agreed “We shall sensitize them [teenage girls], but we shall also draw close to the children to talk to them,” Aurore Umuhoza the coordinator of the council in Kigali said then.
Also in 2018, Kigali hosted Youth Connect Africa Summit bringing together thousands of young people from all over Africa and the world at large.
Teenage pregnancy challenge was discussed at this summit during a special Health Session held under the theme; “Straight Talk: Transforming Africa through the prevention of Teen Pregnancy”
Delegates at the summit identified the major drivers to teenage pregnancies including; poverty to meet basic needs, controlled access to contraception and conservative cultural beliefs.
Rwabuhihi Rose, the Chief Gender Monitor told the summit then that investing in teen pregnancy prevention contributes to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as it improves their health, education and facilitates more gender-equal relationships.