Who we are
UNICEF - Keeping children Alive, Learning and Safe
Uganda is young and bustling. At 3 per cent, Uganda’s annual population growth rate is among the highest in the world, despite a decline in fertility rates. The total population stands at approximately 42.9 million according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) Census population projections.
Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, with 44 per cent of its citizens under 14 years of age. Yet, despite progress, Uganda ranks 159 out of 189 countries in the Human Development Index 2020. Between 1990 and 2019, Uganda’s life expectancy at birth increased by 17.5 years, the mean years of schooling increased by 3.4 years, and the expected years of schooling increased by 5.7 years.
Economically, Uganda is steadily progressing and has achieved moderate economic growth over the past decades. Uganda’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita increased by about 138.5 per cent between 1990 and 2019.
While this growth has been hampered by COVID-19, which weakened the performance of several sectors and dragged down the national economic output, Uganda continues its journey to achieving its Vision 2040 agenda of becoming an upper-middle-income country.
Uganda has made strides towards realizing its Sustainable Development Goals by ensuring that its girls and boys, including adolescents, enjoy equal and equitable opportunities. With the Government’s dedication, and ardent support from its citizens, development partners, and civil society organizations, Uganda succeeded – prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – in considerably improving child survival and development, reducing under-five mortality, increasing early childhood education, reducing child marriage, and increasing birth registration. Because some of these gains have been eroded by the pandemic, efforts must now be made to preserve progress and recover from setbacks.
Situation of children in Uganda
- A child born in Uganda today can expect to live to the age of 63. The under-five mortality rate has declined from 151 per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 64 per 1,000 live births in 2016. (UDHS2016)
- The proportion of women who received assistance from a skilled provider during delivery increased from 39 per cent in 2000 to 74 per cent in 2016. (UDHS2016)
- Neonatal mortality fell between 1988 and 2006 but has stagnated at 27 deaths per 1,000 live births since and is responsible for 42 per cent of all under-five deaths. (UDHS2016)
- Steady progress has reduced the national prevalence of stunting among under-fives from 33 per cent in 2011 to 29 per cent in 2016. However, this has not led to a large reduction in the overall number of stunted children in Uganda, due to the rapid growth in population. (UDHS2016)
- Teenage pregnancy is an important contributor to school dropout and a top cause of death among adolescent girls. One in 4 girls aged 15 to 19 years have begun childbearing. This number has increased because of COVID-19 related school closures.
- Birth registration for under-five children in Uganda stands at an approximate 57 per cent, of which some 24 per cent of under-fives having a birth certificate. (UDHS2016 with admin data).
- Around 4 out of 10 young children (aged 3 to 5 years) attend early childhood education - a marked improvement from 2011, when only 2 out of 10 attended such facilities. Similarly, 8 out of 10 children aged 6 to 12 years attend primary schools and more than 1 in 4 attend secondary school. (Uganda National Household Survey, 2019)
- The net primary school attendance rate is 83.3 per cent for boys and 84.1 per cent for girls; 83.2 per cent for rural areas and 86.1 per cent for urban areas. (UDHS 2016)
- Uganda has made significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS especially in the last 10 years. An estimated 1,400,000 individuals are living with HIV, of which 98,000 are children. (https://uac.go.ug/)
- Access to safe water increased from 57 per cent in 2000 to 78 per cent by 2020. (Uganda National Household Survey, 2019)
- Fifty-six (56) per cent of Uganda’s children experience multidimensional deprivations and a low standard of living. (UDHS, 2016)
- With an approximate population of 42.9 million and an annual population growth of 3 per cent, the population is expected to double in 23 years reaching 85.8 million by 2044. Approximately 1.6 million babies are expected to be born every year. (Censes projections, UBOS)
However, gains are fragile and progress has been mixed. Although the proportion of people living below the national poverty line declined from 21.4 per cent to 20.3 per cent, the absolute number of people living in poverty has increased by over 750,000.
Gender-based violence (GBV) continues to threaten children’s holistic development. High rates of teenage pregnancies and poor quality of care during pregnancy, childbirth and the immediate post-partum period contribute to high maternal and newborn mortality.
Undernutrition continues to undermine maternal, newborn and child health - partly due to low income. This results in inadequate diets, high prevalence of infectious diseases, poor healthcare provision, suboptimal childcare and feeding practices, poor personal and environmental hygiene, and food insecurity.