Sunday, November 01, 2015: An article from East African Business Week
KAMPALA, UGANDA – Uganda together with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched a five year National Action Plan for the Child well-being in Uganda.
“A child needs protection, health, education and sustenance. We need to integrate our service delivery system so that our total contribution provides positive benefits to our children. We must strengthen the way we manage our programs and work together for the sake of children” Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda said recently.
The National Action Plan aims to engage stakeholders to contribute to key priorities for the survival , protection , development and participation of children in Uganda. The children action plan 2016-2021 has objectives like promoting better access to health services, nutrition, better care, education among other social protection for children.
Launching the plan in Kampala, Rugunda said Uganda has about 17 million children, but majority are prone to many social economic challenges which need to be addressed by government and development partners.
Ruganda said over 75% of Uganda children are reporting some forms of abuse with sexual abuse leading the category especially to the girl child, thus the need for government Institutions responsible for protecting the National child to strengthen their services for the better of Ugandan children. The premier attributed the worrying child abuse to poor enforcement of both National and International legal regulations and lack of coordination among Government Agencies.
“Lack of coordination poor enforcement of laws coupled with limited funding to vital sectors have left Ugandans children vulnerable .We should look for technology innovations to help us improve child protection such as mobile technology that can be used to trigger urgent actions and report incidences of child abuse” Rugunda suggested during the National Forum.
Development partner (USAID) is optimistic that if the plan is implemented as it has been design it will enable Uganda to achieve tremendous positive impact towards child protection, development and survive.
By the end of the action plan, the plan targets to see reduced early child marriage by 50 %,reduced gender based violence by 80% on the side of protection goal and Survival the plan targets reduction on prevalence of low birth weights reduced by 50% ,HIV prevalence among adolescents reduce by 10%.
On development goald , the child action plan targets to register improved positive parenting practices by 40%,increased access to early childhood development services by 40% in all the regions in the country . However to achieve such landmarks Government need to invest more resources in key sectors to enable children’s and mother gets quality services especially in the sectors of Education , health, Agriculture and water.
Patricia Mahoney the USAID Uganda deputy Mission director said by investing in quality Education this has the potential to halve early child marriage since studies can keep girl child in schools for longer period.
According to the 2015 Situation Analysis of the Children in Uganda – report the future of the country’s children are still in danger. The report notes that the country is still challenged with the problem of mortality rate with Karamoja and West Nile leading.
On Nutrition the report observers that one in three children under five is stunted and 14% are underweight with children in the rural areas being more vulnerable at 36% which the report say Government need to do much to mitigate such situation in the country.
According to Article 27 of the United Nations convention on children rights It states that Children have the right to standard of living that is good enough to meet their physical and mental needs .Government should help families and guardians who cannot afford to provide this , particularly with regard to food clothing among other basic needs.
By Samuel Nabwiiso, Sunday, November 01st, 2015