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Activists Ask Gov't to Avail Data on Disabled Children Facing Abuse :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Activists Ask Gov't to Avail Data on Disabled Children Facing Abuse

Damon Wamara, the Executive Director of the Uganda Child Rights NGO Network says that children with disabilities still face several challenges including failure to access information because of their unique needs.

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Child rights activists have asked the government to provide statistics on children with disabilities who are facing different forms of abuse in families and communities.

The activists say that lack of statistics deters interventions by both government and civil society.

Damon Wamara, the Executive Director of the Uganda Child Rights NGO Network says that children with disabilities still face several challenges including failure to access information because of their unique needs.

He says that the different public facilities such as schools and hospitals should be used as centers to collect information about children with disabilities to enable effective planning.

Wamara who was speaking at Silver Springs Bugoloobi during the launch of the Policy Brief on teenage pregnancy among children with disabilities in the Bunyoro subregion further revealed how hard it is to determine the need of such children because the government has not distinguished them in the statistics that concern children.

He says without proper statistics, the government can't design and implement appropriate interventions.

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According to the policy brief, the government has made progress in establishing legal and policy frameworks that create protective environments for children with disabilities. 

However, it also indicates that pregnancy among teenage disabled girls is high in Bunyoro, especially among those with intellectual disabilities, the deaf-blind, those with hearing impairment, and those with physical mobility disability.

The brief shows that in the Bunyoro Sub Region consisting of Buliisa, Hoima, Kagadi, Kakumiro, Kibaale, Kiryandongo, and Masindi districts, there is "very much reported” and undocumented information on children with disabilities ranging from physical, visual, hearing and mental challenges that mostly go with minimal recognition, let alone the pregnancy among Children With Disabilities.

"Likewise, incidences of pregnancy and marriage among children with disabilities in Bunyoro has been noted as significant but there is no reliable data on the subject" reads the brief in parts.

Whereas the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS, 2018), shows that 25% of Ugandan women have given birth by the age of 18, Wamara says that statistics on sexual activity among children with disabilities in Uganda are scarce or not known.

Wamara said that the government should make a deliberate effort to have data on children with disabilities giving birth or those reporting cases of abuse at the different police stations or other institutions.

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The Executive Director of the Hoima Network of Children Catherine Kobusingye says that children with disabilities often have their rights violated and yet not reported to relevant authorities for action. He attributed this to some families raising children with disabilities differently, and away from the public, while institutions that would offer help to such children are ill-equipped to help them.

She referred to the lack of sign language interpreters and other experts to help children with special needs who may seek help from hospitals, the police, or other public institutions.

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The Commissioner for Youth and Children Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development Mondo Kyateka says the government is committed to providing a self-environment for all children in the country.

He however urged parents to raise their children to be responsible people in society, with high moral values that bar them from committing evil acts. He condemned people especially men who are reporting abusing sexual or otherwise children with disabilities.

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According to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development National Action Plan for Children with Disabilities 2020/21, 5.82% of Ugandan Children are estimated to be children with disabilities.

Bunyoro, with an estimated population of 1.963,100 million people as per the UBOS 2020 statistics, has approximately 63,981 children with disabilities. The disabilities could be either seeing, hearing, talking, walking, intellectual, mental or self-care among other disabilities.

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