Disability refers to a person who has a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses, or activities. Children with disabilities in Uganda are about 5.82%. Children looked at to be with disabilities are 2,027,148 children. 1,052,000boys, and 974,488 girls with disabilities (National Action Plan for Children with Disabilities. Some of the legislation and policies cater to those with disabilities. The Constitution of Republic Uganda 1995, National development plan 2010-2015, National disability policy 2006. As well as the Persons with Disabilities Act 2006, National Council for Disability act 2003.
Some of the disabilities are;
Vision impairment refers to a person whose eyesight cannot be corrected to a normal level. This is caused by loss of visual sharpness as the eye is unable to see objects as clearly as usual
Deaf refers to a person with a hearing loss let’s say there is little or nonfunctional hearing.
Mental health conditions refer to conditions that affect mood, thinking, and behavior. For example anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder.
Intellectual disability refers to the person who has below-average intelligence and a set of life skills before age of 18. The cure for the condition is not available although treatment can help.
The brain damage caused after birth events is called Acquired brain injury. For example fetal alcohol syndrome, perinatal illness, or perinatal hypoxia.
Autism spectrum disorder a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. For example, autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, pervasive development.
Physical disability, affects a person’s mobility, physical capacity, stamina, or dexterity. These include brain or spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, respiratory disorders, and epilepsy, hearing and visual impairments.
The following ways are how Uganda cares for children with disabilities.
The Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development whose primary function is to provide social rehabilitation. This involves creating awareness among the public about disability. The ministry offers vocational, rehabilitation, and training to ensure they acquire skills living an independent life. They are also supporting community-based rehabilitation programs to provide equal opportunities for the disabled.
The ministry of education and sports whose aim is to “plan, formulate, analyze, monitor, evaluate and review policies; provide technical support and guidance; and set national standards for the education sector”? Under, it has provided a place for those with special needs with counseling and guidance. this is in charge of education planning for special needs groups. This has helped those with special needs to attain quality education hence having a better future ahead of them.
The Ministry of Health enforces and develops appropriate standards and guidelines. They range from health center one to health center seven. These help to deliver health care to people including those with special need needs. Health center four has a resident medical officer who has facilities that can handle minor surgery and specialist clinical staff such as psychiatric nurses.
Health center 6 is equipped with specialists let’s say psychiatrists, general and orthopedic surgeons, occupational therapists to provide specialized services at the regional level. Although there are several limitations while offering the services that is to say limited funding, several specialists who don’t want to work in distant areas, and also a shortage of some specialists such as speech therapists and neurosurgeons make these regional referrals hospitals inadequate for serving disabled people.
The ministry of health works with Non-governmental organizations such as Servizio Internazionale (AVSI) and Uganda Society for Disabled Children (USDC) who help to establish orthopedic workshops for the manufacture and maintenance of assistive devices in most of the regional referral hospitals.
According to the local government act of 2020 “to provide for the respect and promotion of the fundamental and other human rights and freedoms of persons with disabilities;
to reestablish the National Council for Disabled.
the National Council for Persons with Disabilities
the National Council for Disability Act and the Uganda Foundation for the Blind Act, and to provide for related matters.”
The Department of community services at the local government is responsible for social rehabilitation accompanied by a dedicated community development officer. This enables the families of the disabled to access services from the local government to avoid discrimination from most of the public offices.
Challenges faced by children with disabilities in Uganda.
Children with disabilities lack effective participation in the formulation, dissemination, and implementation of laws and policies. This affects them more given the fact they are not asked about the wants of their life and not involved in decision making yet it could be easy if they are asked to make policies that favor them in the process.
The community’s misconceptions and stigma are also a challenge This makes them feel unwanted, bewitch and also makes them feel like there is nothing they can do to develop society.
Children with disabilities lack self-esteem, self-pity and they are not able to report violations of their human rights since they underestimate themselves plus the society too. The caretakers and service providers also worsen the situation when they don’t appreciate what they do and this has made them grow miserable and lack social networking skills.
Food insecurity among children with disabilities is also not something to leave out. Inadequate nutrition for the child at a young age limits them to develop physically and cognitively leading to poor health.
When it comes to enrollment in schools it is worse. The financial inability to manage the requirements in schools. ignored disability-related studies in the curriculum provided by schools. The school infrastructures are not also friendly to then there are no provision passways for those with disabilities. The negative attitude towards them by the teachers and their fellow student this demoralize them and loss interest in school.
Inference, although the government has worked hard to help those with disabilities people remain in a way of not valuing those with disabilities as they keep putting them down in terms of employment, enrollment in schools, and medical services.