The Situation Analysis Provides Comprehensive Situation Of Children’s Rights In Uganda Today, Including Key Bottlenecks In The Delivery Of Basic Services And Actions Required To Improve Children’s Well-Being
The Government of Uganda will today launch the Situation Analysis of Children in Uganda report highlighting the urgent need to sharpen investments in basic services to alleviate child poverty and achieve Vision 2040.
Compiled every five years, and firmly harnessed on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to which Uganda is a signatory, the report provides a comprehensive understanding of the lives of children across Uganda in regard to their fundamental rights – the rights to survival, education and development, protection, and participation.
The Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of Uganda, will be the Guest of Honour.
“This report is timely in that it not only provides a detailed analysis of the present situation of children across the country but also the actions required to ensure all Ugandan children have their fundamental rights realized in the future,” said Hon. Evelyn Anite, Minister of State for Children and Youth Affairs.
“With the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and Uganda’s Vision 2040 in full view, now is the time to implement the actions recommended in this report to accelerate the realization of the rights of children in Uganda to survival, development, protection and participation, with particular attention to most vulnerable and marginalized.”
Regarding the right to survival, children in Uganda continue to face multiple challenges. Despite significant progress made in the past few years, the under-five mortality rate remains high at 90 deaths per 1,000 live births, far off the country’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of attaining 56 deaths per 1,000 live births by the end of 2015.
This is largely due to a lack of progress in reducing the neonatal mortality rate – death within the first 28 days of life – which accounts for nearly one third of all under-5 deaths.
Preventable diseases, such as pneumonia, malaria and other infections, account for more than 70 per cent of under-five deaths while under-nutrition contributes to 40 per cent of all under-five deaths.
A lack of access to safe water to one third of all children as well as poor sanitation and hygiene to hundreds of thousands of children are also contributing factors to slow progress in reducing the mortality of children.
On education and other developmental rights, Early Childhood Development (ECD) tends to be associated with pre-primary education. But a child’s development is not just dependent on education. In order to grow and thrive, children need: basic health care; adequate nutrition, water and sanitation; and nurturing and stimulation within a caring, safe and clean environment. Enabling children to develop to their full potential requires all sectors to work together to meet the needs of children at a crucial stage in their lives and when they are particularly vulnerable.
Notably, pre-primary (3-5 years) school enrolment rates remain low with approximately three million children missing out on this critical stage of education that prepares children for future success in primary school and beyond.
While the primary school enrolment rate is close to universal at 94%, only 67% of children are completing primary school, and a mere 24% enrolling in secondary school. This evidence indicates that more than half of all children who enrolled in primary school are dropping out of school before they reach secondary school.
The quality of education also provides cause for concern. The literacy rate at P6 stands at 40%, and less than half of all secondary school students reached the defined competency levels in Math (47% of all students), English (43%) and biology (15%).
Violence against children – physical, sexual and emotional – is also rampant with nearly 40 per cent of all children, around eight million children, reporting some form of physical violence.
And with 49% of 20 – 49 year old women married by the age 18, child marriage is an issue that has negative consequences on the lives of many children, especially adolescent girls, often robbing them of a healthy childhood and better future.
The report shows that a key underlying cause of many of these issues is poverty.
With 55 per cent of children below the age of five and 37 per cent of children between 6-17 currently living in poverty, around 8 million children in Uganda today are often simultaneously deprived of their rights to survival, education and development, and protection, frequently depriving them of the opportunities they require to grow up healthy and realize their full potential.
The launch of the Situation Analysis comes at a critical juncture in global development. Next week marks the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development.
“While progress has been made to realize children’s fundamental rights in Uganda, this report underscores that millions of Ugandan children have unfortunately been left behind. The Report also highlights the need to renew our commitment to promote the development and participation of adolescent girls” said Mrs. Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative to Uganda.
“With the new post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals on the horizon, it is now more evident than ever that to realize a more sustainable and prosperous future in Uganda, more robust investments must be made in Uganda’s poorest and most marginalized children; indeed, the realization of Uganda’s Vision 2040, depends on it. We ought to strive for equity-focused, gender-sensitive, targeted investments to ensure that all children have a fair chance in life.”