The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Rt Rev Stephen Kazimba Mugalu has called upon Government to put into consideration People with Disabilities, especially children, in its programs and budget.
He emphasized that people surviving with any kinds of disabilities are vulnerable to neglect from families and the community hence the need to fund agencies that prioritize their interests.
Addressing participants during the Father’s Day workshop at Namirembe on Friday, Kazimba asked individuals and communities to refrain from referring to children with disabilities to as a curse “not knowing that they are like any other child who needs love as well as care at all times.”
“I recently conducted a wedding of Dr. Isaac a son of Rev Kityo who is an albino. During his birth, many people used to gather to have a look at a child who was being referred to as a disgrace but lucky enough, his parents never gave up,” Kazimba said.
He noted that with care and love from his family, the albino boy became bright, attended school on government sponsorship until he graduated as a doctor.
“These children can grow into important citizens if they are properly looked after. All Fathers should not be proud of being called fathers when we are not responsible, let us work together with mothers in grooming of our children,” he said.
The Archbishop saluted Ssekitende Julius and Musoke Ibrahim, both fathers of children with Spina bifida, (a birth defect in which a developing baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly) and have sacrificed their time and resources to support their children.
“The Government should, in its budgeting, increase funding for people in this category as well as clarifying on how much money has been allocated to people with disabilities as it is the case with other sectors,” he suggested.
Ruth Nalugya, the Executive Director for the National Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Uganda (SHAU), noted that over 2.5 million children are born with disabilities and more than 6000 are born with the Spina bifida complication which is a serious threat to the society.
She pointed out that although these children need joint care, majority of the parents have abandoned them to one of the partners over unclear reasons which affecting the children’s growth and upbringing.
“Most of the men whom I have been able to talk to contend that they receive threats from their families and parents don’t want to accept disabled children whom they commonly refer to as a curse,” Nalugya said.
Adding: “Some men accuse their wives of engaging in extra marital affairs once the women start to seek regular medical care for these children since changes tend to take long.”
She noted that in the past, fathers have not been at the fore front as pertains parenting which has left many ignorant about their responsibilities.
She added that they decided to engage Fathers of some disabled children as one of the means of appreciating them for their tremendous support as well as encouraging others to become more responsible.
Namaganda Florence, the founder of Mukisa Foundation, a non Government Organization catering for the disabled children, called upon pregnant women to regularly visit health facilities for proper guidance and treatment so as to avoid giving birth to children with health complications.