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Teenage pregnancy is on the rise in Uganda? Call the cops

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By JOACHIM BUWEMBO
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In a few weeks, the world of health will be converging on Astana, Kazakhstan for the Global Conference on Primary Health Care to take stock of the gains made in the delivery of primary healthcare over the past 40 years.

In 1978, experts and world leaders had met in Almaty, Kazakhstan and pledged to guarantee universal access to primary health care.

In many ways, a lot has been achieved. In countries like Uganda, we have achieved more than 100 per cent of the targets for many immunisation campaigns, as kids turn up for the jabs from across our borders.

But there are other areas where the performance is not only poor but the policies are so muddled that they verge on anarchy.

Take maternal health, for example. Right now we have two ministers fighting over teenage mothers getting or not getting antenatal care.

One minister responsible for youth caused a stir when she urged police to arrest any health workers who provide antenatal care to expectant underage mothers instead of calling in the cops. The other minister responsible for health hit the roof, saying this would drive pregnant teenagers away from antenatal centres for fear of being arrested.

The initial minister “clarified” that bringing in the police would help apprehend the men responsible for making the girls pregnant. And so on and so forth.

Is this really the same Uganda that was once upon a time praised for being open about HIV while the other countries were taking a puritanical stand that demonised whoever became infected?

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Is this the same Uganda whose police is known for its iron-fisted handling of political dissent that now someone wants to involve in disrupting maternal health service delivery?

And talking of antenatal health, is this the same Uganda where one Dr Annette Nakimuli a couple of years ago made a giant leap for mankind by identifying the gene that predisposes black women to pre-eclampsia (onset of high blood pressure during pregnancy), a major killer of pregnant women worldwide?

It is indeed quite likely that majority of our seventy-strong Cabinet have never heard of Dr Nakimuli, though she actually conducted her groundbreaking research in Kampala. And around the same time her breathtaking findings were being released at a scientific conference in Kampala, a young female member of parliament died from pre-eclampsia.

Did our 400-plus MPs launch a pre-eclampsia awareness campaign in honour of their fallen colleague to save the several thousand Ugandan girls who will die from this problem in a few years?

No, what they did was to launch partisan campaigns for the seat that pre-eclampsia made vacant. Such is the seriousness with which maternal health is regarded in Uganda.

It is not the first time we have had two women ministers opposing each other in public. The last time we had a minister calling her colleague a prostitute, and the public ignored their quarrel because it was beneath the dignity of most Ugandans to join such trash talk.

But the current disagreement between the ministers is over policy, so hopefully more views will come up.

Who knows, some of us may even support the police involvement, on the grounds that it will scare teenagers into using contraceptives.

Joachim Buwembo is a social and political commentator based in Kampala.

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Is Orengo charting his path away from Raila?

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History of intense rivalry between him and Opposition leader, alleged sabotage in 2013 and 2017 elections and talk of betrayal ahead of 2022.

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Police Deploy Chopper to Rescue Students Lost in Forest for 4 Days –

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Three students who went missing after a forest adventure in Mt Kenya, Karatina, Nyeri County, were finally rescued on Saturday after four days in the jungle.

Four days without food, the boys told members of the press that they survived by the grace of God.

17-year-old Anthony Muhoro, Jackson Karuri, 17, and David Mukoma Kinyua, 20, went missing on May 4.

Muhoro is a Form Three student at Gitunduti Secondary School, Karuri is also a Form Three but at Ihwagi Secondary School while Kinyua is a student at Nyeri National Polytechnic.

Also found alive were two dogs that were in the company of the three when they were reported missing.

Read: Missing Businesswoman Caroline Wanjiku Maina’s Body Found In A Kajiado Mortuary

The rescue team comprised of police officers who after four days of futile search deployed a National Police Service chopper to locate the students who were on the verge of despair.

In the Saturday search, the Nation reports, the officers teamed up with Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service rangers to comb the forest in search of the students.

In an interview with the local publication, Muhoro revealed that they were hiking when they lost their way back home.

“It was by the grace of God that we survived for four days without food and other necessities. We thought we were going to die and kept praying,” Muhoro said in a phone interview.

Read Also: Missing Thika Millionare Julius Gitau Found Alive – Police

“We literally groped in the dark after losing our way back home. We survived on water and wild fruits since we had not carried any food.”

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According to the student, the trio entered the forest through Ragati gate but couldn’t trace their way home hours later.

“We found ourselves deep into the dense woods. I don’t know how far it was from the edges of the forest but we were exhausted,” he said.

“We could not even tell the time since it was constantly dark. That is when panic set in.”

They could not communicate with anyone back at home as their mobile phones lost signals.

Read Also: Son To Murdered Kiambaa Family Reported Missing

“We started moving in the forest, literary going in circles in a desperate attempt to find our way out,” Muhoro said.

Days later as they moved around the forest with the hope of finding an exit, they ‘miraculously’ met some police officers and forest rangers who alerted the rest of the search team.

Mathira East Police Commander James Baraza, who led the operation, said the trio’s disappearance was reported at Karatina Police Station the same day they went missing and a search operation launched immediately.

Email your news TIPS to [email protected] or WhatsApp +254708677607. You can also find us on Telegram through www.t.me/kahawatungu

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Police in hot pursuit of gang that car-jacked a Ruaka resident – KBC

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The vehicle was found abandoned in Kagongo village, having been vandalized.

Kiambu based detectives are pursuing a dangerous and armed criminal gang that car-jacked a Ruaka resident on Friday, before disappearing with his Toyota Premio as he drove to his residence.

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According to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations(DCI), the victim had pulled over by the apartment’s gate at Ruaka One River Apartments, unaware that a gang of three assailants was laying in wait for him.

As the gates opened, the driver’s window was suddenly smashed with an iron rod, before two shots were fired in the air from a pistol in an attempt to subdue him.

However, he managed to force his way into the parking lot, but before he could jump out of the car and scamper to safety, the trio caught up with him and roughed him up before grabbing his car keys and phone.

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On receiving the report, DCI detectives based at Kiambaa launched a manhunt for the suspects.

The vehicle was found abandoned in Kagongo village, having been vandalized.

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Its rear and front headlights, side mirrors, all tyres, nose guard, boot and radio had been stolen.

Detectives believe that the three suspects are part of a larger criminal syndicate operating within Kiambu County.

They have been targeting taxi drivers while posing as customers, only to turn against them at isolated places, then vandalize their vehicles.

” Some members of the syndicate have previously been arrested and arraigned in court.” Said the DCI

The DCI has cautioned Kenyans on this trend of crime.

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