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Manuela Project

Disability in Africa

The reality of disability in Uganda is one of the harshest and most inhuman situations in which a human being can be plunged. On the one hand, discrimination, stigmatization and abandonment by society and, on the other, the lack of institutional help aggravate this situation.


In Uganda there are no official figures in this regard, but the World Report on Disability of the World Health Organization places child disability in Africa at around 6.4% of those under 15 years of age, while in developed countries the rate stands at 2.9%. Uganda is the youngest country in the world, with an average age of 15.3 years. With a total of 20.9 million children under 15 years of age, it can be considered that around 1.3 million boys and girls have some type of disability.

According to Save de Children, in Africa, disability is mainly caused by preventable diseases. Poor nutrition, lack of prenatal health care, and lack of medical care during childbirth also contribute to disability among newborns and children. Lack of vitamin A in babies can also cause disabilities such as blindness or spina bifida.

Discrimination, sexual assaults and "compassionate" homicides

Children with disabilities are among the most marginalized in society and their rights are frequently violated. In most cases, they are absent as recipients in public policies, in development plans and poverty reduction programs, which means that many boys and girls with disabilities are relegated to living in a situation of extreme poverty and abandonment:

INVISIBILITY: These girls and boys remain confined to their homes, without going outside, without medical attention, suffering from malnutrition.

ABANDONMENT: Many times these girls and boys are abandoned by their parents. Other times it is the father or mother who flees the situation, abandoning their family. The family member who remains in charge suffers from depression due to the burden of a boy or girl with a disability.

SEXUAL ASSAULTS: Children with disabilities are between 4 and 5 times more likely to be victims of violence and sexual abuse.

“COMPASSION” HOMICIDE: The lack of assistance, training and institutional help lead families to seek “drastic solutions” to this situation. The practice of “compassionate” homicides is one of the most common. Under the excuse of avoiding the girl or boy from a life of discrimination, confinement, abuse and suffering, families choose to let them die from diseases such as malaria, malnutrition, etc.

All this means that action in the field of disability is a humanitarian emergency forgotten by all of society.