Uganda spells out child wellbeing agenda

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