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Significant investments in children and women in recent years have led to developmental successes in Uganda, notably in primary education and in the fight against HIV/AIDS. However, in the north, nearly two decades of conflict between the Government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have spurred a severe humanitarian crisis marked by widespread insecurity and massive displacement. Uganda has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the Optional Protocol to the CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflict. A Children’s Act, based on the CRC, was passed in 1996.
Issues facing children in Uganda
Malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhoea are the main causes of under-5 mortality.
Approximately 20,000 babies are infected by HIV annually through mother-to-child transmission.
Nearly half of the estimated 2 million orphans are orphaned due to AIDS, with the total expected to rise to 3.5 million by 2010.
Net primary school attendance has risen to 87 per cent.
Children and women comprise 80 per cent of the 1.4 million people forced to flee their homes due to conflict. They live in more than 200 camps, with limited services.
The LRA has abducted more than 25,000 children since 1986.
In the conflict-affected districts, around 40,000 unaccompanied children – the ‘night commuters’ – walk every night from their homes in outlying villages to urban centres, in search of protection from the threat of LRA abductions and attacks.
Activities and results for children
13.5 million children (6 months-15 years) immunized against measles in 2003.
More than 4 million children reached in twice-yearly national “Child Days” to accelerate Vitamin A supplementation, catch-up immunizations and de-worming.
3.7 million girls benefiting from the expansion of the Girls’ Education Movement (GEM) to 18 districts.
9,600 excluded and disadvantaged children reached through 250 non-formal/complementary learning centres.
512,000 mothers assisted at 91 sites for Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS.
1.4 million children registered through a revitalised birth-and-death registration programme in 25 districts.
300,000 displaced children (under-5) served by 2,300 community health volunteers, equipped with first-line treatment drugs in the conflict-affected districts.
8,000 severely malnourished children assisted by provision of therapeutic milk and high-energy biscuits to Therapeutic Feeding Centres in the conflict-affected districts.
120,000 primary school pupils and 12,000 pre-school children assisted in temporary learning centres and Early Childhood Development (ECD) sites.
More than 400,000 people benefiting from the provision of clean water through motorised pump systems in camps for displaced people.
More than 5,000 children who had been abducted by the LRA were reunited with their families after receiving basic medical care, psychosocial counselling and family-tracing support in reception centres.
More than 30,000 child “night commuters” assisted through the provision of emergency shelter and household items.