Uganda: Kaziimba Speaks Out On Blocking Pregnant Girls From Church Schools

Church of Uganda Archbishop, Dr. Stephen Kaziimba has said schools are not well equipped to take care of the health challenges that may emerge in the first months if pregnant girls are allowed back.

Mukono Diocese’s Bishop James Ssebaggala has been under fire from members of the public and government for directing teachers in church founded schools to block pregnant and breastfeeding girls from their institutions.

Commenting about the matter, Archbishop Kaziimba said there is only a blanket permission by government to allow the pregnant students in schools without the necessary condition to ensure this is done safely.

“The schools are not equipped to take care of health challenges that may emerge in the first three months of the pregnancy and yet we have this commitment to reduce maternal mortality. There are girls who were in boarding schools and are struggling to decide whether they will manage the boarding school environment in their condition,”Kaziimba said during a convention of the Inter Religious Council of Uganda in Masaka City.

The Church of Uganda Archbishop said there is need for realistic options to be explored over the matter by all stakeholders.

“School owners have the challenge of providing adequate facilities for expectant and lactating mothers. Parents have increased burden in terms of fees and taking care of unplanned, undesired and unsupported grandchildren, living with stigma in cases where incest is involved. Religious leaders are challenged in upholding morals in the face of the magnitude of the social issues for which they are also victims.”

The Church of Uganda Archbishop however urged leaders at all levels to collectively engage in creating safe environments for all children in society.

“We are going to mobilise our members at grassroot level, catechists, lay leaders, local pastors and imams into a response team to develop a framework for monitoring numbers of pregnant girls involved so we are kept abreast of the magnitude. We want them to monitor the challenges related to re-entry of the affected girls and boys creating a mechanism for pastoral support to parents, children and teachers.”

He said the Inter Religious Council is going to strengthen chaplaincy ministries in their schools as part of a prevention strategy.

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