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Wednesday,December 02,2020 01:58 AM

PWDs have rights like other citizens

By Vision Reporter

Added 15th October 2009 03:00 AM

Letter of the day

EDITOR—Recently, someone raised concern over a mentally ill woman in Kasese town who was pregnant. The writer wanted the man responsible to be identified to take care of the mother’s antenatal needs.

Letter of the day

EDITOR—Recently, someone raised concern over a mentally ill woman in Kasese town who was pregnant. The writer wanted the man responsible to be identified to take care of the mother’s antenatal needs.

Letter of the day

EDITOR—Recently, someone raised concern over a mentally ill woman in Kasese town who was pregnant. The writer wanted the man responsible to be identified to take care of the mother’s antenatal needs.

This is a matter of great concern because a woman with mental illness needs antenatal care even more than any other pregnant woman. Reading this article, a number of questions came up in my mind. Does this woman consent to the sexual relationship or is raped? Does she have relatives? Does the district have a community welfare office or not? Does the public know that people with mental illnesses have rights like any other citizens?

Last year, Uganda ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons (UN CRPD), which advocates the wellbeing of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), including People with Mental Illnesses (PWMIs), to be handled with respect and dignity but not as ‘second class’ citizens.

Whereas this woman has a right to get married and start a family, it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure that her life and that of her children is not in danger.

Following the ratification of the UN convention, Government should ensure that implementation is enforced. It is really sad that this woman conceives but the person responsible left her on streets just because she is mentally ill. Districts and towns have community welfare offices but what would be their purpose if they can not cater for such vulnerable persons?

There should be deliberate efforts by the Government to provide funds to this essential social responsibility cause.

Are PWDs party to policies on HIV/AIDS, or family planning and poverty eradication or not?

These are some of the rights of PWDs spelt out in Article 23 of the convention states:
lCountries must make sure that; PWDs have equal rights to marriage, a family and personal relationships.

lPWDs have equal rights to get married and start a family as long as both couples want to.

lPWDs have a right to decide how many children they have and when to have them and not be sterilised against their will.

lPWDs have the right to family planning and other information to help them make decision.

lCountries will provide support to PWDs to help bring up their children
lChildren with disabilities have the right not to be kept apart from their families. However, stigma still surrounds mental illnesses due to ignorance on causes, signs and symptoms, management and available services.

Hence a call for a multi-sectoral approach so as to promote the rights of people with mental disabilities at all levels, starting from the individual, family, community and Government.

Julius Lutakome Kayiira
Mental Health Uganda

PWDs have rights like other citizens

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