Growing up in a typical African home, girls are usually told not to bring home a pre-marital pregnancy and boys not to impregnate someone’s daughter out of wedlock. This threat by parents and guardians poses a mystery to the African child of how exactly this said “evil” happens.
They are never given the full detail on how pregnancy actually happens. This points to a very large gap in sexuality education. The little information got is from the senior women and men teachers in schools which is usually not comprehensive.
Because of the lack of a central source of correct information, they end up getting mixed up theories from their peers which is prone to myths and misconceptions. We have all heard ridiculous pregnancy prevention myths like “you won’t get pregnant if you have sex during periods, if you take coca-cola after sex, if you have sex while standing, name them. The end result is at times unwanted pregnancy.
Remembering the “don’t get pregnant” threat from home, the young person turns to her friends for a solution which is most probably using a certain herbal concoction, using a sharp stick or metal, taking self-prescribed abortion pills pointing to another problem; unsafe abortion.
Unsafe abortion is defined by the World Health Organization as a procedure for terminating an unwanted pregnancy either by persons lacking the necessary skills or in an environment lacking minimal medical standards or both. Unsafe abortion and its complications account for 5% of maternal deaths in Uganda and many more are left with permanent complications including infertility.
In 2018 the ministry of Education Uganda launched the national sexuality education framework which faced challenges and has not been actualized. We cannot sit and wait for the government to act, as empowered young people, we can start by seeking as much information as possible about sexual reproductive health from health workers, peer educators, the internet, and the whole expanse of information sources but be sure to clarify with a trained person.
After acquiring this information, please share it! Instead of talking about the latest celebrity breakup, informing your friend, sister, neighbour, or girlfriend about how they can take control of their fertility and sexuality would be a lifesaving move.
So then, who is to blame? No one takes the absolute blame for having an unintended pregnancy however an individual has got the power to prevent it if they took little precaution.
For the unfortunate cases of sexual violence (rape and defilement), the survivors can still make use of emergency contraception within 72- 120 hours to prevent unwanted pregnancy. The precaution can be in the form of using condoms correctly and consistently, abstaining from sex, or even choosing a pregnancy prevention method from the wide range of available options.
Take charge of your sexuality, seek as much information as possible to make informed decisions. Not even your beloved boyfriend or girlfriend sponsor is responsible for the outcomes if it is undesirable.
About Author: Ms. Doreen Kyampeire is a budding writer with a special interest in health-related topics.