The Observer (Kampala)

14 July 2013

Uganda Census Planned for 2014

Government has approved a Shs 50bn budget for the national population and housing census planned for August 2014.

The minister of State for Finance and Planning, Matia Kasaija, made the announcement during celebrations to mark World Population day at Ngora district headquarters on July 11.

"In 2012, the census was called off because of inadequate funds and we have also not been able to have it this year because of the same [problem]," Kasaija said.

"However, money has been put in the 2013/14 [budget] to carry out the census and I appeal to Ugandans to participate...," he said.

Uganda's population has continued to grow rapidly over time, increasing from 24.2 million people in 2002 to 34.5 million people in 2011, according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos). It is projected that 1.8 million people will be added to this number by the end of this year.

The 2012 state-of-Uganda population report reveals that Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, with at least 78% being below 30 years. One of the factors contributing to rapid population growth is the high rate of teenage pregnancy, quoted at 24% according to 2012 Ubos statistics. That means one in every four girls becomes pregnant while still a teenager.

This puts Uganda in the ninth position among African countries with the highest teenage pregnancy rates after Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mozambique and Chad, among others.

"The reason for this trend is that there is limited access to reproductive health information and services, complacency, many adolescents are engaging in unprotected sex and others forced into early marriage," said Charles Zirarema, acting director of the Population Secretariat, an organisation responsible for promotion and coordination of population policies in Uganda.

Vice President Edward Ssekandi represented President Museveni as Uganda marked World Population day, whose theme this year was, 'Invest in preventing teenage pregnancy: let girls be girls'.

The president, in his speech read by Ssekandi, urged Parliament to pass the National Population Council Bill to facilitate proper planning and protection of the youth.

As part of the celebrations, Orange Telecom Uganda, Population Secretariat and Housing Finance bank offered an assortment of hospital equipment worth Shs 30m to Ngora Maternity Health Centre III.

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