Uganda’s High rate of incest has reached worrying levels —Health ministry Officials

Officials from the Ministry of Health are concerned about the increased cases of incest in communities, the health state minister for general duties, Sarah Opendi, has said.

According to the Police Crime Report of 2018, about 79 cases of incest were reported, yet in many cases, parents decided to keep the incidents to themselves.

“We are seeing an increase in incest between fathers and their daughters, siblings, and cousins. Such sexual relationships are forbidden in African culture, but they are increasing,” Opendi said, addressing youth and stakeholders during the Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health meeting at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.

She said parents are not doing enough to provide the necessary information about sex to their children. Opendi said children have smartphones and they are learning a lot of things from them and accessing pornographic material, which influences them to commit incest.

She also warned against marrying off children at a young age and proposed that parents who do so be arrested. Dr. Sabrina Kitaka, a senior pediatrician at Mulago Hospital, said some children have been infected with HIV by their fathers.

She said the delay in investigations affects the victims as they suffer psychological torture. The MP for Mitooma District, Jovah Kamateeka, said there is a moral breakdown in society, which has led to the increased cases of incest.

Dr. David Okello, the director for non-communicable diseases and healthy aging at the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation, said the youth should be engaged in discussions on reproductive health.

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Patrick Luwagga is the editorial director of cross-platform content for UGANDANZ. He works across the newsroom and with business partners to drive and develop ambitious editorial projects that include digital journalism, video, data research, polling, live events, and thought-leadership series that are supported by outside underwriting. As executive director, he is responsible for the creation of Political news section, prior to joining UGANDANZ, Patrick was the chief editor for the national weekly news magazine of Kasese Times. In that role, he covered several presidential elections, wrote and produced two television documentaries, and was a regular commentator on television and radio news programs. Patrick was born in Masaka and grew up in Kasese. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Makerere University where he was a Knight Foundation journalism fellow.