However, the same convention generally agrees that disability results from the interaction between a person’s impairment and obstacles such as physical barriers and prevailing attitudes that prevent them from fully participating in societal engagements.
“The more obstacles there are, the more disabled a person becomes,” the convention reads in part, adding that generally, people with disabilities have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments such as blindness, deafness, impaired mobility and developmental impairment.
“Some people may have more than one form of disability and many, if not most people will acquire a disability at some time in their life due to physical injury, disease or aging.
anything that affects an able-bodied person affects a disabled person and therefore it is important for all Ugandans to show concern for the welfare of disabled people.
“Disability is only a secondary definition…A disabled person is a human being first,” he said. He said disabled people face a number of barriers in accessing health care in the country yet they too face a number of health issues that are present in society.
For instance, the 2011 HIV/AIDS Indicator survey showed that the AIDS scourge is rising among people with disabilities yet they do not have specialized information to deal with the pandemic .health facilities are also built in a way that does not favour or make it easy for people with disabilities to access these facilities. since the disabled people in Uganda belong to the voiceless and vulnerable category, it should be the duty of the media to give a mouthpiece for their cause.
“The media should raise the profile of the people with disability to influence policy at the national level.Women and men with disabilities can and want to be productive members of society. In both developed and developing countries, promoting more inclusive societies and employment ,opportunities for people with disabilities requires improved access to basic education,vocational training relevant to labour market needs and jobs suited to their skills, interests and abilities, with adaptations as needed. Many societies are also recognizing the need to dismantle other barriers – making the physical environment more accessible, providing information in avariety of formats, and challenging attitudes and mistaken assumptions about people with disabilities.
According to the 2002 Population and Housing Census, at least 4 out of every 25, or 16 per cent of the population, are disabled. Applying this estimate to today’s Ugandan population(approximately 30 million1) would indicate that they may be some 5 million disabled people in the country. Disabled people in Uganda, as in most developing countries in the world, face extreme conditions of poverty, have limited opportunities for accessing education, health, suitable housing and employment opportunities.
Governmental support for people with disabilities
The Government of Uganda has adopted a number of laws and policies pertaining to people with disabilities, including their right to productive and decent work and basic services. The main ones are listed below.
The Constitution of Uganda, 1995.
Article 21 prohibits discrimination against people with
disabilities. Uganda is one of the few countries in the world to recognize sign language in its Constitution.
Uganda Bureau of Statistics in their 2009 Statistical Abstract projects Uganda’s population to be 30.7 million persons.
The Persons with Disabilities Act, 2006, makes provisions for the elimination of all forms of discriminations against people with disabilities and towards equal opportunities. Also provides for a tax reduction of 15 per cent to private employers who employ ten or more persons with disabilities either as regular employees, apprentice or learner on a full time basis.The Local Government Act, 1997, Parliamentary Elections Statute, 1996, and the
Movement Act, 1998.
These laws aim to increase the representation of disabled people in the public sphere. The Local Government Act, for example, provides for representation of disabled people at the various Local Council levels. In addition, Section 37 of the Parliamentary Elections Statute provides for five seats in Parliament for representatives of persons with disabilities.
Traffic and Road Safety Act, 1998, prohibits denial of a driving permit on the basis of disability.
Uganda Communications Act, 1998, provides for the promotion of research into the development and use of new communications techniques and technologies, including those which promote accessibility of hearing-impaired people to communication services.
Workers’ Compensation Act, 2000, provides compensation to workers who are injured or disabled through industrial accidents.
The National Council for Disability Act (No. 14), 2003, monitors and evaluates the rights of persons with disabilities as set out in international conventions and legal instruments, the Constitution and other laws.
The Business, Technical, Vocational Education and Training (BTVET) Act, No. 12, 2008, promotes equitable access to education and training for all disadvantaged groups, including disabled people.
National Policy on Disabilities, 2006, provides a human rights-based framework for responding to the needs of persons with disabilities.
The Equal Opportunity Act, 2006, and the Employment Act (No. 6), 2006, both prohibit discrimination of persons in employment based on disability.
The Universal Primary Education Act, makes it financially possible for families to send their disabled children to school by providing free primary education to four children in every family, including disabled children.
The Uganda Vision 2025 and the Poverty Eradication Action Program (PEAP), provide along-term development framework and initiatives aimed at sustaining rapid economic growth and tackling poverty.
Key ministries responsible for disability issues
The Department for Disabled Persons under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development has the primary responsibility for registration, vocational rehabilitation and coordination of employment for persons with disabilities.
The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development coordinates the Uganda Community-
Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Programme. Uganda adopted CBR in 1992 as a strategy within general community development for rehabilitation, equalization of opportunities and social inclusion of all children and adults with disabilities.
The Ministry of Education and Sports is in charge of disability issues relating to education in collaboration with the Uganda Institute of Special Education (UNISE).
Consultative mechanisms – Other organizations
The National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), a national umbrella organization made up of disability associations, is frequently consulted by the government on matters related to disability.
The National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda (NUWODU). NUWODU is one of the first organizations in Southern African run by and for women with disabilities. It provides
leadership and training for emerging women’s organization in other countries and focuses on economic development projects.
Key international standards on disability and their status
International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, 1958, (No. 111). Status: ratified, 2 June 2005.
ILO Convention Concerning Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons), 1983, (No. 159). Status: ratified, 27 March 1990.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) and Optional
Protocol. Status: ratified, 25 September 2008. Optional Protocol ratified on 25 September 2008.
Uganda works to implement the Action Plan established for the African Decade of Persons with
Disabilities, extended to December 2019.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
The National Union of Disabled Persons(NUDIPU)
The National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda (NUWODU)
Uganda Foundation for the Blind
Uganda National Association of the Blind
Uganda National Association of the Deaf
Disabled Women Network and Resource
Uganda Disabled Women’s Association
Organizations for persons with disabilities:
Uganda Mental Health Association
Uganda Parents Care for the Mentally Handicapped
Uganda National Action on Physical Disability, acts as an umbrella organization of/for people with disabilities.
Uganda Parents’ Association of Children with Learning Disabilities (UPACLED)
Legal Action on Persons with Disability (LAPD)
Spinal Injury Association (SIA)
Epilepsy Support Association of Uganda (ESAU)
National Association of the Deaf Blind (NADB
The role of the ILO
The primary goal of the ILO today is to promote opportunities for everyone, including people with disabilities, to obtain decent and productive work, based on the principles of freedom, equity,security and human dignity. The ILO works to achieve its goals of decent work for all through promoting labour standards, advocacy, knowledge building and technical cooperation services and partnerships, both within the ILO and externally. The Uganda Decent Work Country programme establishes the framework for delivery of ILO action.
In Uganda, current ILO technical cooperation projects on disability are:The project “Promoting the Employability and Employment of People with Disabilities through
Effective Legislation” (PEPDEL).
Earlier phases of PEPDEL included the compilation of a country
study on legislation, policy and implementation mechanisms on the training and employment of persons with disabilities to build a knowledge base on people with disabilities; identification of priority and needs in consultation with government, representatives of workers’ and employers’ groups and disabled persons’ organizations; support to NUWODU for the development of a simplified version of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 2006, and of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and, a disability audit of Ugandan laws concerning the education, training and employment of persons with disabilities.
The project “Promoting Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities through a Disability
Inclusion Support Service” (INCLUDE).
The project builds capacity at regional and national levels to
effectively support the full participation of women entrepreneurs with disabilities in entrepreneurship
development activities conducted under the ILO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Development and
Gender Equality (WEDGE) programme. INCLUDE also involves advocacy and awareness-raising
activities to promote decent work for persons with disabilities.
The way forward
Productive and decent work enables people with disabilities to realize their aspirations, improve
their living conditions and participate more actively in society.
Ensuring a disability perspective in all aspects of policy and labour legislation, effective implementation
and enforcement of existing disability laws and policies and providing for equal employment
opportunities and training are among the factors that contribute to the reduction of poverty and to
the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities in Uganda.
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