NISR reports over 19,000 teenage pregnancies in 2023

By Esther Muhozi
On 13 May 2024 at 09:23

Data from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) has reported 19,406 cases of teenage girls aged between 10 and 19 giving birth in 2023. The issue of unintended pregnancies among teenagers is a significant concern in Rwanda. Various government entities have been actively trying to address it, although the numbers have not decreased.

Statistics show that in 2017, there were 17,331 teenage pregnancies, which sharply increased to 23,622 in 2019. In 2020, the number was 19,701, and it rose again to 23,534 in 2021.

The 2023 NISR report on key health and welfare statistics in Rwanda (Rwanda Vital Statistics Report) indicates that women who gave birth that year included those as young as 10 years old.

The report also highlights that there were 102 children registered in the civil status records born to women aged between 10 and 14 in 2022, while those born in 2023 increased to 75.

Children registered as born to women aged between 15 and 19 were 20,109 in 2022, and this number increased to 21,469 in 2023.

In March 2024, during a visit to the Northern Province, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, Dr. Valentine Uwamariya, pointed out that when a child is impregnated at a young age, it often results in dropping out of school, and sometimes the child suffers from poor nutrition, or both may live in poor conditions.

She stated, "The first thing that needs to be done after education and explanation is to enforce the laws. Those involved should be punished to serve as a lesson to others, but most importantly, we must all collaborate to protect the child because often it is the parents who are involved, but anyone who sees it must act, and not leave it solely to the family."

99% of the girls who gave birth aged between 15 and 19 were first-time mothers, while 1% had given birth more than once.

The statistics also show that the children born to these teenage girls had an average birth weight of 2,975 grams. Female infants had an average birth weight of 2,937 grams, while male infants born to these girls weighed an average of 3,013 grams.

The NISR report does not specify the residences of the women under 19 who gave birth but indicates that of the over 340,000 children born countrywide, more than 5% were born to women aged between 15 and 19, and 22% were born to women aged between 20 and 24.

According to MIGEPROF, the number of teenagers aged 14-19 who were impregnated in the Eastern Province in 2023 was 8,801, while in the Northern Province it was 3,724.

Meanwhile, 70 men from the Eastern Province have been prosecuted for the crime of child sexual abuse.

NISR reports over 19,000 teenage pregnancies in 2023.