Most of the health facilities country wide lack essential drugs CWDs need to deal with their conditions.
KAMPALA - Children With Disabilities(CWD’s) have petitioned vice president, Edward Ssekandi over the absence of essential medicines and crucial services in public health facilities.
A child hailing from Mukisa foundation suffering from convulsion but on conditions of anonymity said “Eplim medicine used for treatment of convulsion is not available in public health centres yet a dosage of eplim medicine costs over sh50,000 in private health centres which our parents cannot afford.”
They argue that most of the health facilities country wide lack essential drugs they need to deal with their conditions as CWDs, which they say has affected their lives.
The petitioners also asked government to construct and equip more schools for CWDs with special instructors to get quality education as it is a right for everyone and not just a few privileged.
“They are apparently very few schools country wide which are equipped with trained instructors, yet there is overwhelming numbers of CWDs for such schools, “ the children told Ssekandi.
The petitioners included children suffering from autism, (neurodevelopment disorder that first appears during childhood), Intellectual disability (Children who learn more slowly than others), down syndrome( a genetic disorder characterised by mental and developmental impairments), physical impairments, the blind.
Others are ;deaf, those suffering from cerebral palsy and spina bifida, children with cases of ‘club foot’ a condition where one or both feet are rotated inwards and downwards, also attended.
They also requested that parliament enacts a law that all infrastructures including buildings should have rams to access the buildings.
The call was made on the sixth annual awareness fun day- campaign of CWDs.
The children moved in their wheel chairs along Kampala Jinja road to Lugogo MTN sports arena Kampala to raise awareness about challenges facing them.
The ceremony was attended by over 1000 CWDs who are under care of different organisations under the umbrella of Special Children’s Trust (SCT) yesterday.
Mukisa foundation, Jonas foundation for disabled, children Silent angels special centre, Den health initiative, Skills development centre, Good will special needs and Demonstration Academy Kireka thronged the arena carrying placards with messages outlining their demands.
Hailing from Mukisa foundation, a child suffering from convulsion said “Eplim medicine used for treatment of convulsion is not available in public health centers yet a dosage of eplim medicine costs over sh50,000 in private health center which our parents cannot afford.”
Another child under the care of Good will special needs also mentioned that there are no required health therapy services in public hospitals adding that they are referred to private hospitals whose prices are not favorable.
With the help of a sign language interpreter, another child said “my parents cannot afford to buy a special wheel chair which costs about sh4m, Donors helped me to procure the wheel chair.”
In an interview with the Newvision Dr Isaac Kajja, the head of the department orthopedic surgery Mulago hospital said it would cost about sh6m to correct a deformity of an amputated leg of a child in a private facility.
“This includes hospital and professional fees,” he said.
Florence Namagembe, the director of Special Children’s Trust explained that: “Wheel chairs are expensive and even the donated ones are not fit for them”.she said “Based on estimations, the child disability prevalence is about 13%,1 approximately 2.5 million children live with some form of disability in Uganda.
"The disability prevalence varies across the country: the Northern,region appears to have the highest rate while the eastern and central regions, have the lowest rates.”
Samuel Mayanja Ssekajja, chairperson Special Children’s Trust (SCT) said there is lack of education materials and sufficient instructors to CWDs which creates buriers to learning, development and participation.
Sylivia Muwebwa Ntambi chairperson Equal Opportunities Commission decried the slashing of funds for special needs in the ministry of education. “In the financial year 2018/19 budget government has allocated sh3.49b while in 2017/18 budget finance allocated sh3.54b which affects service provision to CWDs ,”Muwebwa said.
In response to the requests, Ssekandi, said government is committed to all-inclusive policies that empower all people irrespective of their disabilities to tap each one’s potential.
Ssekandi who donated sh2m cash to support the children at the arena commended all the NGO’s involved in fighting for the rights of the CWDs and encouraged them to always freely express their rights and compete favorably.
He also signed the pledge card to support the day’s theme of ‘leave no child behind’ to highlight the plight of children “I commit my will to support the cause of these children,” Ssekandi signed.