Thursday, 30 June 2016

How is disability measured in Uganda?

The Ugandan National Population and Housing Census 2014 – Main Report identifies 4 questions to be asked about disability.
  1. Does [name] have difficulty seeing even if he/she is wearing glasses?
  2. Does [name] have difficulty hearing even if he/she is using a hearing aid?
  3. Does [name] have difficulty walking or climbing steps?
  4. Does [name] have difficulty in remembering or concentrating?
Was this disabled woman included in the National Population and Housing Census 2014 – Main Report?
The Disability Information from Censuses Washington Group on Disability Statistics (WG) shows that these 4 questions are based upon a set of 6 core questions identified by the Washington Group for the World Health Organization (WHO) to standardize reporting of disability around the world. These 6 core questions are part of a larger set of questions. The 6 questions provide an indication of the total number of disabled people by assessing the majority of PWDs, The 6 questions were designed to show the major exclusions of disabled people from social life (see Washington Group on Disability Statistics Rationale for the Short Set). These questions were selected because disability is often seen as being about exclusion. These core questions identify how the majority of disabled people are excluded from society. The 6 questions are
  1. Do you have difficulty seeing, even if wearing glasses?
  2. Do you have difficulty hearing, even if using a hearing aid?
  3. Do you have difficulty walking or climbing steps?
  4. Do you have difficulty remembering or concentrating?
  5. Do you have difficulty (with self-c are such as) washing all over or dressing?
  6. Using your usual (customary) language, do you have difficulty communicating, (for example understanding or being understood by others)?
These 2 sets of questions are limited to social exclusions based on physical inability. They do not identify all forms of disability and should in no way be taken as such. 3 examples will suffice to prove that:
  1. A person with polio may have no difficulty climbing 5 flights of stairs at age 15. Later in life they may become more impaired.
  2. An albino may answer no to all the questions but encounter problems associated with stigmatization and prejudice.
  3. At the time of the interview a person with mental health problems may have no trouble answering no to all these questions and may be significantly incapacitated at other times.
The prevalence of disability was identified as 16% by the 2002 National Population and Housing Census. The Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) Act 2006 redefined disability in Uganda after the definition of disability was challenged (see UN Convention on the Rights of PWDs, Uganda’s Initial Status Report 2010.

The 6 core questions identified by the Washington Group show the major exclusions of PWDs. They do not identify all PWDs. The  2014 National Population and Housing Census used only 4 of those questions and identified the number of PWDs to be 12.5% of the population. It is unknown how many additional PWDs were missed by these 4 questions.

There is little doubt that the total figure of 12.5% disabled assessed in 2014 in Uganda is wildly inaccurate. And further more by selecting only a subset of questions about exclusion, it shows the government of Uganda is ignoring other social issues like prejudice and stigmatization because of own ignorance of the real problems of PWDs.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Number of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) in Uganda

The major problem establishing number of disabled people in Uganda is the shortage of accurate information. Until recently data on disability was unreliable. The 2002 National Population and Housing Census and the National Household Survey now provide reliable information. The African Disability Rights Handbook 2014 answers the following questions:
What is the total number and percentage of women with disabilities in Uganda?The 2002 National Population and Housing Census does not provide segregated data on prevalence rates of disability amongst women. The same is true for the National Household Survey 2012.
Total percentages of PWDs for all Ugandans over the age of 5 years and over the age  of 2 years are reported, The number does not represent an accurate figure of the total number of PWDs in Uganda, see the 2014 National Census Main Report

The African Disability Rights Handbook 2014 continues
What is the total number and percentage of children with disabilities in Uganda?According to the 2002 Population and Housing Census, disability prevalence was at 2 per cent amongst children. The National Household Survey on the other hand does not provide an estimate on prevalence rates amongst children.
Tailor Oduguni Salongo working in his shop
What are the most prevalent forms of disability and/or peculiarities to disability in Uganda?According to the National Population and Housing Census the most frequently observed types of disability were:
• Loss/limited use of limbs (35 per cent) = 1,968.750 people
• Serious spine problems (22 per cent) = 1,237,500 people
• Hearing impairments (15 per cent) = 843,750 people
• Sight impairment (6.7 per cent) = 376,975 people
• Speech impairment (3.9 per cent) = 219,375 people
• Mental retardation (3.6 per cent) = 202,500 people
• Mental illness (3.6 per cent) = 202,500 people
• Other disabilities (9.6%) = 540,000 people
Note: The figures in italics are my own calculation. In 2014 16% of the total population were estimated to be PWDs. Therefore the 2014  population of PWDs in Uganda  was 5,625,000 people see Poverty and Disability in Uganda.

Based on my calculations the total number of PWDs with some kind of physical disability (loss/limited use of limbs + serious spine problems) is 57% of all PWDs or 3,306,150 people. This is almost 9% of the total population or 1 in 11 people.

It becomes clear that at least 1 in 11 people would benefit from ramp and lift access to buildings. Is it right to exclude so many people from society?

Monday, 27 June 2016

Uganda: George's Story

This movie is an example of how poverty can affect chances of getting the best health care. In this case not getting good health care lead to further disability. The Pulitzer Center says:
According to the World Health Organization, at least 10 percent of Africans live with a disability. Ninety percent of children with disabilities in Africa do not attend school.
In countries where there are hardly any social security nets, disability leads to a destructive cycle of poverty. Yet many disability cases could have been prevented with prompt treatment.
Pulitzer Center student fellow Jae Lee from Washington University follows the story of a boy who was taken to three health centers but did not receive treatment—it was the lack of care that led to his disability.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Poverty and Disability In Uganda

There is a strong link between poverty and disability the Republic of Uganda Poverty Status Report 2014 says. In 2009/10 92.3% of households with a severely disabled member were considered to be living in poverty or at risk of living in poverty.
In addition, individuals with disabilities are likely to have more expensive consumption needs to attain a given standard of living due to additional expenditures related to healthcare, assistive devices, transportation and assistance workers.
“A Mini Poverty and Participatory Assessment,” the report continues
also found that individuals with disabilities are disproportionately affected by poverty. In Lira, it was reported that disabled individuals faced many problems with very little assistance from others or means of earning money. The disabled are registered at the sub-county but do not benefit from any special assistance or targeted programme.
With a wheelchair and artificial legs this man could make a contribution to his family

How does this translate to real numbers? The population of Uganda was estimated to be 37,580,000 in 2014 of which some 16% are estimated to be disabled says the African Disability Rights Handbook 2014. By my calculation in 2014 there were 5,625,000 PWDs (persons with disabilities) in Uganda. There are just under 5,200,000 PWDs living in poverty or at risk of living in poverty in Uganda.

To put this into perspective, I come from New Zealand. The population of NZ is around 4,600,000. So there are more PWDs in Uganda living in poverty than the total population of New Zealand. Thank goodness Disability Support Uganda is doing something to alleviate the problem.
Disability Support Uganda is working with PWDs at grassroots to alleviate poverty through events like Abilities 256.

Raffle Tickets Have Arrived

Raffle tickets have arrived to raise funds for Abilities 256. The festival will showcase abilities of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Uganda.

The raffle will raise funds for:

  • Travel refunds for PWDs
  • A workshop to educate PWDs
  • Refreshments
  • PA system
  • Money will go towards the costs of the venue

Though we have disabilities we will find a way.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Imagine Becoming Blind Over Night

This is the story of a woman who is challenging the prejudices and stereotypes around blindness.

Sylvia Kalibeela does not know what caused her to lose her sight over night 10 years ago when she was 20 years old The Daily Mail reports. The worst part of the experience was being torn apart from her 2 young boys.
After her husband started mistreating her because of her disability, Sylvia, now 30, felt she had no choice but to leave their home in Masindi, Uganda, and was subsequently banned from visiting them.
But after seven months at a school where she learned to use a knitting machine, as well as being taught skills such as using a white cane and reading braille, she hopes she can win her children back.
From the Mail Online

Her story highlights the stigma and prejudice associated with disability.
'Before I went blind, my husband loved me,' she recalled. 'When I couldn't see anymore, he said I had become useless and that he had to nurse me like a child. He began mistreating me and I made a decision to leave him.'
...nobody thought Sylvia would be able to look after her children, so they remained with her husband. Sylvia was stopped from even visiting her children and was only allowed the occasional phone call. 'I asked him to bring them to see me,' she explained. 'But he refused.'
Sylvia went to live with her parents. Her
friends soon dropped away because they didn't know how to help her and didn't want to be seen walking with her.
Then she heard about a program by Sigsavers. At a vocational school in Kampala they taught her how to operate a knitting machine. They also taught her essential life skills like how to use a white can cane and reading and writing in Braille.

'I stopped looking at myself as a worthless person,' she said. Now Sylvia is hoping to inspire other people with disabilities.
'I have learned that given a chance, a disabled person can be equally productive,' she said.
'This programme has saved me from begging. Before, I used to beg for almost everything.
'But with these skills, I can work and provide for myself. And that makes me very happy.'
Now Sylvia dreams of starting her own training program to help other disabled women.

A summary of article 8 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of PWDs says: "Countries must raise awareness of the rights, capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities. Countries must challenge stereotypes and prejudices relating to people with disabilities through campaigning, education, media and awareness-raising programmes.

It cannot be emphasized more: Disability is not inability.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

See how sign language can transform lives

Watch the full documentary, 15 and Learning to Speak: Unreported World follows the inspirational work of the sign language teachers transforming the lives of deaf children and adults in Uganda

Transforming the Lives of Deaf People in Uganda

As I learn about disability in Uganda, I begin to see many common themes. Today I am reading about deafness. 

The Borgen Project describes all too familiar cultural attitudes that "contribute to the lack of urgency when it comes to deaf children’s education." The article continues describing harmful stereotypes that are associated with deafness. Where deafness is often seen 
as an act of fate or a sign of God’s punishment. Deaf children are often hidden because they are considered a source of familial shame. They may also be pitied and seen as burdensome and helpless, which can result in abuse such as sexual violence towards deaf women.
These negative attitudes generally increase the isolation of deaf children and feed into the stigmatization of deafness. Governmental policies that fail to protect the Deaf from discrimination, as well as derogatory language similar to the English phrase “deaf and dumb”, are manifestations of this stigmatization. 
There is little doubt that deaf people in Uganda are poorly understood and heavily stigmatized. SignHealth sums up the issues:
Discrimination and victimisation: In Uganda, deafness is little understood by society. Deaf people face significant discrimination and victimisation. Stigma and cultural taboos surrounding deafness mean that deaf people are among the most marginalised and disadvantaged groups in the developing world.
Isolation: Many deaf children are not taught signing skills, a language they can understand. As a result, they are unable to communicate with or understand the world around them. They are isolated, even from their loved ones, and are often abandoned by their families and communities.
Lack of education: 65% of deaf children in Uganda do not attend school or receive a basic education.
Poor health: Communication difficulties and discrimination mean that deaf people living in impoverished regions of Uganda are unable to access services to meet even their most basic needs. Lack of healthcare, for example, can have devastating consequences for vulnerable people. Abuse, victimisation and isolation can lead to behavioural and mental health issues.
Whilst these attitudes are all too familiar and rather depressing, I found this video on YouTube which cheered me up.Take some time to watch this video about a boy that has never been taught sign language and is unable to communicate with people around hin. See how being able to communicate can transform a life.

BBC Our World - Uganda - My Mad World (2015)

In Uganda few people are willing to talk about mental illness. Those who suffer are frequently isolated, shunned by their community and rejected by their families. Our World meets a man who has broken the silence.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Ugandan proverb

When you see a poor man eating chicken, he is either sick or the chicken was sick.

Breaking the stigma around mental illness in Uganda

A very good report from the BBC about the work of one man

Mental Health in Uganda

Uganda "Stop the Abuse"People with mental health issues from Uganda call for an end to abuse by police, traditional healers, in healthcare and in their families.

Mental Disabilities and Mental Health in Uganda

Everyone is equal before the law regardless of their disability. People with mental disabilities in Uganda are handicapped by outmoded and derogatory language used by the legal system, inaccessible courts and inappropriate accommodation. People with mental disabilities are often seen as subhuman and are not given their rights.

An article by MDAC the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre identifies the following problems:
  • The use of outdated and discriminatory terminology such as "idiot", "persons of unsound mind" and "lunatic" in court papers and processes which entrench stigma;
  • People with intellectual or psycho-social disabilities are legally denied the right to bring or defend cases and their evidence is deemed to lack credibility or refused;
  • Some people with disabilities cannot navigate or understand the complex processes required to initiate or defend cases, and no support is provided to them to do so;
  • Rigid application of rules of procedure in a way which is likely to deny substantive access to justice;
  • Imposition of court fees discourages or prohibits people from claiming their rights through the courts;
  • People with disabilities have their cases taken over by guardians ad litem or other substitute decision-makers, without the need for their consent; and
  • People with disabilities are arbitrarily detained during criminal procedures, sometimes left to languish for decades in detention (See UGANDA: ACCESS TO COURTS FOR PEOPLE WITH MENTAL DISABILITIES).
"They don't consider me as a person"
Uganda is a country with a population of 35 million and only 30 psychiatrists. Lack of access to treatment, poverty, stigma, discrimination and human rights abuses are major barriers for the rehabilitation of people with mental disorders. Many workers in Uganda do not want to work in psychiatry due to the stigma associated with mental illness.

The organisation BasicNeeds has been working in Uganda for over 10 years to improve the quality of life of people living with mental illnesses. Their work involves supporting access to quality community mental health services and getting people back to productive work. They target 2 types of vulnerable groups.
The first are people who suffer from a mental disorder (schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, clinical depression, anxiety disorders etc) and the second, people who are likely to suffer from mental disorders as a result of the context they are living in (high risk categories include poor households, people directly affected by protracted conflict, included orphaned youth and former child soldiers, women and girls living in poverty, people with disabilities living in poverty). Significant effort has also gone into post-conflict programmes addressing psychosocial trauma and related deprivation and poverty in Northern Uganda, (see BasicNeeds: Where we work).
A summary of article 13 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of PWDs says: "People with disabilities have the right to effective access to justice on an equal basis with others, including through the provision of appropriate accommodations."

A World Health Organisation (2001) report says that one in four people are expected to get some kind of mental health disorder in their lifetime isn't it time we removed the stigma.

The Ugandan Perspective on Albinism

When this woman took her kids to school the staff noticed that she was albino. They began to treat her children, who were not albinos, badly. Her children were told they were cursed. The stigma of her albinism was passed to the next generation.

This is the story of Claire Wabule.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Fashion model Diandra Forrest speaks about her albinism.

Diandra Forrest is an African-American model and actress. She is the first female model with albinism to be signed to a major modelling agency. Her striking beauty has caught the attention of many magazines and she has walked in numerous international fashion shows. Her passion for art and creativity has also drawn her into the world of acting

Should people with albinism be stigmatized and persecuted for a genetic condition?

What is Albinism? Albinism is a genetic condition that occurs in all peoples of the world. Most children with albinism are born from parents with normal hair and eye colour.

Fashion model Connie Chiu is Chinese
From Shading a positive light on beauty and albinism
ADD (Action on Disability and Development) says albinism causes the following problems:
Poor Vision People with albinism always have vision problems that are not correctable with eyeglasses and many have poor vision. It's the abnormal development of the retina and abnormal patterns of nerve connections between the eye and the brain that cause vision problems.

Fashion model Diandra Forrest
 is African American

From Shading a positive light on beauty and albinism
Fashion model Stephen Thompson is American
Ffrom Shading a positive light on beauty and albinism

Skin The skin of people with albinism is very delicate and irritable when exposed to the sun. It's common to develop skin cancer, so it's important to keep in the shade or use appropriate sunscreen lotions.
8 Myths About Albinism
  1. The homes of people with albinism are cursed.
  2. A child with albinism is a demon or a godly curse for wrongdoing by the family.
  3. Children with albinism were produced because the ghost of a colonialist impregnated their mother.
  4. People with albinism don't die they are super-human beings who simply disappear.
  5. A person may encounter bad luck if they touch the skin of a person with albinism.
  6. Some men assume that their wife must have had an affair with a white man.
  7. Concoctions made from body parts of persons with albinism can make one rich.
  8. Having unprotected sex with a woman with albinism will cure HIV.
A summary of article 8 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of PWDs says: "Countries must challenge stereotypes and prejudices relating to people with disabilities".

This kind of prejudice shames everyone. Don't accept it.

Join us at Abilities 256

Abilities 256 gives an opportunity to all PWDs in Uganda to showcase there talents and skill every year. All organized by

See the Facebook Event for more information

Saturday 30th July 2016
at 8:00 
sekyana hall

Monday, 20 June 2016

What is your attitude?

Is this boy a curse or a victim of people's attitudes? This is the story of Fred, a young boy in Uganda who was born with a cleft lip and palate.

Is disability a curse?

In some communities in Uganda disability is considered to be a curse. It is believed that mothers have brought a curse into their family. It is not the disability that handicaps  people with disabilities (PWDs). PWDs are vulnerable to the attitudes of people. 

When disability is considered a curse disabled children and adults are hidden away because they bring shame upon the family. Physical disability is often thought to indicate some kind of mental handicap. 

Consider how this family was affected by the attitudes of people around them. wife gave birth to two ‘normal’ baby girls, but then she gave me a ‘kasiru’ (a deaf child, literally translated as ‘stupid’) as the fourth born. The whole family thought I was a cursed, poor man. They would throw insults towards me and my wife. I became so disillusioned and thought of how our marriage could come to this. Living with a Curse
This boy, who is now supporting a family was affected by his father's attitude. day when I was fourteen my father's boss come unexpectedly to the house and saw me crawling on the floor. "What is this?" Ha asked my father. Reluctantly my father had to admit that I was his son. "What are you doing to help him?" Insisted the boss. That saved my life. I was taken to hospital where it turned out that all I needed was some practice and a simple brace to walk. That's all I needed to be like others but until I was fourteen I was kept segregated at home. crawling on the floor. Box 2.3 I used to crawl
These stories are not isolated. Disabled people suffer stigmatization and are often taunted and ridiculed.
...if a blind person goes for a HIV/AIDS test, instead of helping that person, the health workers instead ridicule that person and ask them `even you with your blindness, how could you get someone to give you HIV/AIDS?’ this discourages us from testing and so most of us don’t know our HIV/AIDS status. Experience of healthcare in Uganda
Some PWDs are able to overcome these obstacles and go on to lead useful and productive lives contributing to the Ugandan economy. Disabled people in Uganda shouldn't have to overcome these kinds of obstacles. With proper implementation of the United Nations Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities Uganda can become a country with its PWDs leading useful and productive lives.

A summary of article 8 of The United Nations Convention for Rights of the Disabled says: "Countries must raise awareness of the rights, capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities. Countries must challenge stereotypes and prejudices relating to people with disabilities through campaigning, education, media and awareness-raising programmes."

How many successful disabled people do you need to meet before you understand that disability is not a curse?

PWDs Can and Will

The talent and skill search for persons with disability in Uganda is on. DiSU is here to make it s reality.

Disability support Uganda is happy to let the world know that regardless of any disability. PWDs can and will.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Equal Opportunities Commission, Uganda

Further to the blog on Report on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) which discussed United Nations session held in April 2016. The session was to follow up and address problems with the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. A report detailing concerns of the committee was published after the meeting (Concluding observations on the initial report of Uganda)

Point 8 in the report
notes that the committee is concerned about persistent discrimination against PWDs. Concluding that the committee is concerned "that the work of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has not been made known widely among PWDs." 

This article is to inform PWDs about the work of the EOC. The following information comes from the EOC website:
Mandate To eliminate discrimination and inequalities against any individual or group of persons on the ground of sex, age, race, color, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, health status, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability, and take affirmative action in favor of the groups marginalized on the basis of gender, age, disability or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom for the purpose of redressing imbalances which exist against them; and to provide for other related matters. 
Vision A just and fair society where all persons have equal opportunity to participate and benefit in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life. 
Mission The EOC is a constitutional body established to give effect to the state’s mandate to eliminate discrimination against any individual or groups of persons through taking affirmative action to redress imbalances and promote equal opportunities for all in all spheres of life.
The EOC website gives the following answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).

What is affirmative action? It is a deliberate action or initiative taken in favour of marginalized groups to redress imbalances or discrimination on those grounds identified in the legislation.

What happens if equal opportunities laws are violated? In each case, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) will examine & investigate to decide whether the treatment complained of amount to a violation of equal opportunities legislation or goes against affirmative action and then will take appropriate action.

What are examples of discrimination & marginalization? Individuals or groups of persons can encounter unfair treatment in many aspects of their lives. Such unfair treatment might be regarded as discrimination under the equal opportunities legislation in the following examples amongst others:

  • A disabled person cannot access a service in a building because, there is no ramp or accessibility for a wheelchair.
  • A female colleague earns less than males doing work of equal value.
  • Groups of individuals are subjected to cultural acts ,such as female genital mutilation, which impair their enjoyment of human rights.
  • An older person or youth denied employment or access to services because of age.
  • An individual living with HIV/AIDS is dismissed from his or her employment on the grounds of their health status.
  • An expectant mother is denied a job on the basis of her pregnancy, or is denied maternity leave by her employer.

What is marginalization? Marginalization is a situation where a person or group of people are disadvantaged or excluded from accessing opportunities, resources or services, or from taking part in making decisions on matters concerning their lives.

What is discrimination? Discrimination is when a person or group is unfairly or less favourably treated than others on any of the above grounds. It can happen as a result of negative attitudes or prejudice towards an individual or group of persons. Sometimes discrimination occurs as a result of social or economic barriers, political circumstances or bureaucratic requirements that make it more difficult for some people to access opportunities or services.

What does the law on equal opportunities say? Under the equal opportunities legislation it is unlawful to discriminate against any individual or group of persons on the grounds of: (The rest of this paragraph is currently blank. The Mandate quoted above says this list should be: 
sex, age, race, color, ethnic origin, tribe, birth, creed or religion, health status, social or economic standing, political opinion or disability. The list also includes failure to take affirmative action in favor of the groups marginalized on the basis of gender, age, disability or any other reason created by history, tradition or custom for the purpose of redressing imbalances which exist against them; and to provide for other related matters).

What does equal opportunities mean? Equal opportunities mean that everybody receives the same treatment and consideration in the enjoyment of rights and freedoms. This includes access to social services, education, employment, physical environment and participation in social, economic, cultural and political activities.

How can the EOC deal with people who contravene the law on equal opportunities? Where a violation has taken place, the offending party:

  • may be cautioned and directed to rectify the situation
  • may be fined
  • A person may be imprisoned or be both fined and imprisoned
  • How can the complainant be protected?
The law protects people against being victimized after they have made a complaint about discrimination or marginalization. A complaint can also be made in confidence.

How can victims of marginalization or discrimination seek redress from the EOC? An individual or group of people may lodge a complaint relating to discrimination, marginalization or any act which undermines or impairs equal opportunities. The complaint can be in writing or lodged verbally. The Commission will then consider or hear the complaint within a period of six months.

How can the public access the services of the EOC? The EOC can be accessed by contacting us through;
Physical Address
Plot 7 Lithuli close, Bugolobi, Kampala

Postal Address 
Equal Opportunities Commission
P.O Box 27672, Kampala, Uganda

For more information go to the Equal Opportunities Commission.

Report on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities

A report from NBS TV Uganda (16th June 2016) says that Uganda is still doing badly in providing an environment for the rights of people with disability. Gaps were identified during the appearance of Uganda before the United Nations Committee in April.

The Assistant Commissioner for Disability and Elderly under the Ministry of Gender, Beatrice Nabulime Kaggya MP said that Uganda still uses derogatory language against PWDs throughout its legislation.

The committee recommends that Uganda harmonizes definitions of disability in the various laws and policies.

The system of education and health service delivery for persons with disabilities was found to be poor in terms of access. The UN committee recommends that Uganda carries out training for people who deliver these services on the use of sign languages.

People with Disability welcomed the development.

The national women's MP representing PWDs in parliament, Sofia Nalule Juuko encouraged Uganda to copy the South African practice and involve more Ugandans. Nalule also called upon human rights stakeholders to share the copy of the concluding observations with parliament for better implementation and budgetary allocation.

Persons with disabilities are now calling for the appointment of a minister for the docket.

For further information please see this report. The report details concerns of the committee and areas that Uganda must work to rectify before the next seession in 2022.
Concluding observations on the initial report of Uganda

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Accessibility and Human Rights

This video is about the fundamental human rights of disabled people to access education, hospitals, courts and other vital services non disabled take for granted.

Do you know your rights?

Human rights legislation is important. Each time I watch a video about disability issues in Uganda I notice that people are addressing human rights violations. Do you know your rights as a Persons With Disability (PWD)? 

Uganda has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of PWDs 2006. This means that PWDs are entitled to certain rights. This piece of legislation guarantees some fundamental rights to PWDs. This means that the law should support disabled people getting their rights. I have made a summary of the convention so that you can better understand your rights.

The convention details the rights of disabled people in several areas. Articles 4 to 8 detail the overarching ideas that everyone is equal and should not suffer discrimination regardless of their disability. Women, girls and children should have equal rights. This means that PWDs should have access to education, law, health  and other public facilities as a right. The convention also says that countries must raise awareness of the rights, capabilities and contribution of PWDs.

The convention states that:
  • Article 9: PWDs have the right to access all aspects of society on an equal basis. That includes public transport and facilities and services provided to the public.
  • Article 10: PWDs have the right to life.
  • Article 11: PWDs have the right to protection and safety in situations of risk such as armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters.
  • Article 12: PWDs have the right to equal treatment before the law and should be supported in accessing their legal rights. 
  • Article 13: PWDs should have equal access to justice including adequate accommodation.
  • Article 14: PWDs have the right to liberty and security, being disabled cannot justify taking away of liberty.
  • Article 15: PWDs have the right to NOT be subjected to torture or inhuman treatment or punishment.
  • Article 16: PWDs have the right to NOT be exploited and should be protected from all forms of violence inside or outside the home.
  • Article 17: PWDs have the right to respect for their physical and mental integrity.
  • Article 18: PWDs have the right to a nationality and disabled children the right to a name and care from their parents.
  • Article 19: PWDs have the right to live independently and should be supported in the choice of where they live.
  • Article 20: PWDs have the right to personal mobility and should have access to mobility aids and assistive devices.
  • Article 21: PWDs have the right to express themselves freely, this includes access to sign language interpreters and braille.
  • Article 22: PWDs have the right to privacy including personal information and information about their health.
  • Article 23: PWDs have the right to make a family where they want.
  • Article 24: PWDs have the right to education. They should be able to access education.
  • Article 25: PWDs have the right to access health without discrimination.
  • Article 26: PWDs have the right to maximum participation in all aspects of life.
  • Article 27: PWDs have the right to employment in an accessible environment.
  • Article 28: PWDs have the right to an adequate standard of living this includes water, clothing and housing.
  • Article 29: PWDs have the right to participate in public and political affairs as well as vote and be elected.
  • Article 30: PWDs have the right to take part in cultural and sporting events, including access to recreation, leisure and sporting activities.

Finally article 31 says that governments should collect information so that the barriers to the effective implementation of the convention can be better understood and applied to make the convention real.

The rest of the report, articles 32-50, explains how countries are bound by the convention and how they must demonstrate they are putting the convention into effect.

The understanding of this convention is important. Everyone should know their rights so that they can live with dignity and respect. Everyone has the right to be treated equally.

Friday, 17 June 2016

You can hug someone with HIV/AIDS

Next time you see a person with HIV/AIDS don't shun them. Go and talk to them. Think on these facts.

When I was nursing, I nursed people with HIV/AIDS, I had to bear in mind the following:
  • Anyone can have the HIV virus
  • Nurse Peter Smith
  • It is wrong to judge people that are HIV positive
The HIV virus is found in the blood and sexual fluids, it is spread in 3 ways:
  1. Sexual activity when you come into direct contact with blood, semen or viginal fluids especially during unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex
  2. Blood to blood, the HIV virus cannot pass through unbroken skin
  3. Mother to baby either while the baby is in the womb, being born or being breast fed

    Condoms when used correctly are effective at preventing the transmission of AIDS. Proper education is the key to AIDS prevention.

    You cannot become HIV positive from any of the following:
    • Hugging 
    • Mucus 
    • Sweat 
    • kissing (there are rare cases of people with gum disease (bleeding gums) tansmitting the virus through their saliva) 
    • Shaking hands 
    • Eating from the same plate 
    • Towels or clothing 
    • Sharing toilets or latrines 
    • Sitting close to HIV people 
    • Mosquitoes or other insects or animals

    Finally, it should be obvious that:
    • You cannot cure AIDS by sleeping with a virgin
    • AIDS is NOT a disease of gay men
    • AIDS is NOT a punishment from god, it is a virus just like the common cold
    For more information see Myths and Facts about HIV/AIDS

    HIV/AIDS and Disability in Uganda

    Many disabled people are HIV positive.

    There is a myth that disabled people do not have sexual intercourse. The reality is that persons with disabilities (PWDs) are often in relationships without emotional commitment, the relationship is not long lasting. PWDs often have multiple partners. Another myth is that if you sleep with a PWD you will cure your HIV.

    The following points were made:

    • PWDs with HIV/AIDS have a double stigma. 
    • The services PWDs need to access are often in places that are difficult to reach.
    • The deaf fear that their translators will not keep their health status confidential.
    • PWDs are often unaware of their rights.
    • Uganda has very good disability rights law.
    There are 3 organisations working to inform both PWDs of their rights and health service providers of their responsibilities.

    Thursday, 16 June 2016

    What is it like to be a woman with a disability in Uganda?

    Disabled Women's Rights

    My Ugandan friend said: "We come from two completely different worlds," and added flatteringly, "yet you understand me." All I could think was that I try to understand.

    My friend is very wise and I let her words guide me. I know very little about life in Uganda. This blog is about my journey. What I uncover is shocking.

    I come from a country that gives rights to women and the disabled. These rights were largely fought for and won before I was born. I have lived in a world where I can expect rights. 

    In Uganda the fight for rights for women and the disabled has only just begun.

    Wednesday, 15 June 2016

    Disability Rights Uganda

    Faith Legum has an important message for the people of Uganda.
    When you see a disabled person, please provide support. Don't despise the person. What God has created, you can never change. Me, who is singing, I don't even see. I am blind. I have sung for the rights of persons with disability. In this world, people are just struggling with life. Respect rights of persons with disability. If you see I am blind, don't steal from me. I am struggling for my life. AVSI, we thank you for supporting us. Even the government, we also thank you for supporting us. If you see a disabled person moving on the road, please don't despise. Disability is not inability."

    Disability is not Inability

    Today I was watching this video by the Kenyan disability rights activist Baba Gurston.

    Let Baba Gurston speak.

    This is his message.

    No one is perfect in everything, in this way we are all handicapped.
    Never say that disability is a curse.
    Don't hide your disabled away.
    Everyone has the right to education.
    Take the truth I am saying, disability is not inability.
    We can be together as One.

    Tuesday, 14 June 2016

    Bedsores are Preventable

    Bedsores are common and easily preventable. Bedsores are caused when a person is immobile and cannot move themselves or if they are unable to change their position in their wheelchair or bed.

    When a person lays or sits in one position for a long time the blood does not flow to the skin area that is compressed. Eventually the skin will breakdown and a sore will develop. Finally the skin will break and there will be a risk of infection. This may become serious.
    Bedsores like the one on this youngsters hip are preventable.Children With Disabilities Uganda

    To prevent bedsores the immobile person should be turned every 2 hours. Or if they are sitting they should change their position every 2 hours.

    If the person already has a bed sore, they should never lay on the bedsore. Laying on the bedsore will cause more breakdown and damage. Lay the person or sit them so that they are not resting on the bedsore.

    Monday, 13 June 2016

    Children With Disabilities (CWDs)

    I am researching about people with disabilities (PWDS) in Uganda. Today I was discussing the plight of children with disabilities (CWDs) with a friend. I was told that families often hide their disabled children.

    To follow up our talk I did some research. It didn't take me long to find the following information:

    people with disabilities are not treated very well in Uganda, (they are) often neglected and severely malnourished. Jackson Kayak Blog
    It is tough for parents bringing up disabled children. I was shocked by the opening sentence of this paragraph. I think it is terrible to be surprised that the care that is a right is an exception. 

    There are some surprising cases of parents taking really wonderful care of their disabled children even with no knowledge of how best to care for them, however this is the exception not the rule. Jackson Kayak Blog
     It is tragic that ignorance carries so much weight.
    Some parents think their children have been cursed, some parents are ashamed of their children and some parents think they have done something wrong to end up with a disabled child.  Jackson Kayak Blog
     Disability Support Uganda (DiSU) works at grassroots challenging ignorance.
    Children With Disabilities Uganda

    Challenges of the Disabled

    Disabled people face all kinds of challenges. This woman who was rejected by her family because she is blind. The article reads:
    Ms Florence Faith Lagum uses the white cane to make her way around Gulu Town recently. Her relatives chased her from home over her blindness.

    From: From Patriots in Uganda
    It is common for disabled people to be chased away from their homes in Uganda.

    DISU Exists to fight for the rights of disabled people and educate about issues affecting PWDs.

    Saturday, 11 June 2016

    About us

    Who we are: Disability Support Uganda (DiSU) is a non political community based organization established in 2012 to give support to persons with disabilities (PWDs) and there families. DiSU is fully registered with the directorate of community based services Wakiso district, Uganda. Its registration number is WCBO/0934/16.

    Our primary focus is to assist PWDs and their families achieve economic self reliance through inclusive education, basic health care, cultural and sports participation, and low capital income generating activities that take advantage of tax incentives.