The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has urged the government of Uganda to put in place mechanisms that can reduce the impact of the high fertility rate among adolescent girls in the country.
While addressing journalists ahead of celebrations to mark the milestone of the world reaching eight billion people, Mary Othieno—the UNFPA country representative—said introspection can be extremely valuable.
“You find an adolescent carrying a baby on the back and two more are following her yet she is still a dependant,” she said of the dire situation, adding, “Such a thing creates a population that is dependable and not productive.”
According to Ms Othieno, the Ugandan government must start educating young adolescent girls at the primary school level about the merits of bringing up a healthy productive population.
She said the current trend of the population—growing up at three per cent—should be checked as it comes at a cost of Ksh294 million per annum in so far as expenses on guaranteeing positive health outcomes is concerned.
Amos Lugoloobi—the junior Finance minister—said the government is trying all possible ways to educate adolescents and women in general.
“We as government are doing our part to see that there is a reduction of high fertility among adolescents as we expect their age bracket (0-22 years) to be in school since there is free universal education for them at both primary and secondary level,” he said.
Mr Lugoloobi noted that although a big population guarantees a big market, it should be invested in so as to be turned into an engine of the economy.