Armed groups sexually assaulting young refugees fleeing Congo

By Patricia Osman.
A new assessment by Save the Children has found that 10% of newly arrived children fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo were defiled during their journey to Uganda and 27% assaulted by armed groups.
Johnson Byamukama, Save the Children’s Emergency Response Director in Uganda says the assessment which interviewed 132 refugee children aged 10-17 about their protection and education needs also found that hunger was the biggest issue facing children on their journey affecting 81% while Sickness affected more than 1 in 2 children at 53%.
Byamukama says a lot more needs to be done as the conflict in DRC is one of the world’s forgotten crises.

Woman jailed for kidnapping minor

By Robert Ssegwa
Police in Buyende district eastern Uganda is holding a woman for allegedly kidnapping a 9 years old girl for ransom.
The suspect Mastula Nangobi a resident of Irapa village in Buyende district is alleged to have picked Fatima Nabaranda from Nabiromba primary school claiming that she was taking her to her parents. It is reported that Nangobi booked a lodge in Kamuli and started calling the victim’s parents demanding for a ransom of shs4m for her release.
The parents are reported to have wired the money through her mobile money and reported a case at police which tracked the number and arrested the suspect.
Patrick Onyango the deputy police spokesperson says the suspect is in police detention waiting to be arraigned before courts of law to face charges of kidnap.

Mother held in hospital for five months for failure to clear hospital bills

A mother who gave birth to twins five months ago is still held hostage at Bishop Ceaser Asili Memorial Hospital in Luweero town over unpaid medical bills.

The mother, identified as Stella Adongo, a resident of Kizito zone in Luweero district, was admitted at the facility on December 21, 2016 and gave birth to twins by caesarean section. She was subsequently billed 495,000 Shillings which she had to clear before she could be discharged from the facility.

However, the 20-year together with her husband Festo Magumba failed to raise the money. The man later disappeared and switched off his mobile phone leaving the mover stranded. Adongo has since remained in the maternity ward where she and her children are surviving on handouts from well-wishers.

Adongo says that the hospital administrators refused to discharge her and she gets daily reminders from the hospital cashier to clear the bill before getting out of the facility.

Adongo was also supposed to undergo another operation three months after delivery. However, the hospital declined to conduct the operation over unpaid bills.

Bishop Ceaser Asili Memorial is Catholic Church founded private hospital based in Luweero town. The facility receives 77 million Shillings annually under the Primary Health Care strategy, which seeks to make health care accessible to all individuals and families in a community.

Paul Mukungu the LC III Chairperson of Luweero Town Council faults the health facility for the inhumane treatment that Adongo has been subjected to over the last five months. He says that there is no reason for the hospital to hold the patient they have access to Primary Health Care funds allocated by the Ministry of Health to address such challenges.

But Sister Ernestine Akullu, the Administrator of Bishop Ceaser Asili Memorial Hospital denied holding the patient. She says that the hospital had hired the husband Festo Magumba as a porter on its construction site to help him raise the money. However, Magumba worked for only one day and disappeared from the site.

Akullu adds that the facility subsequently sought her relatives and advised them to commit to a payment plan but they failed to adhere to the advice.  She says that they have since petitioned FIDA, the Association of Women Lawyers to intervene in the matter and restore hope for the desperate mother.

Stella Adongo met with Festo Magumba in Gulu where he had gone to burn charcoal and relocated with him to Luweero town council to start the family.

 

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Bobi Wine and wife Barbie donate 100 mattresses and beddings to street kids

Ghetto gladiator , Bobi Wine and his wife Barbie spent the better part of their Monday improving livelihoods of unprivileged children in Kifumbira located in Kamwokya a Kampala suburb .

Specioza singer Bobi said he joined his wife’s team known as the caring heart to improve these children’s lives by giving 100 matresses, 100 blankets and 100 mosquito nets . The beneficiaries were street kids who have live in Kamwokya and two children’s homes.

In his Facebook post”

7:57pm and each one of us is heading to a place they call home. To a soft bed we want to retire. Most people around us have no bed to lie on. Today, together with my wife Barbie Kyagulanyiand her #caringheartsteam accompanied by #heartforchildren, we visited the most vulnerable children around us and we took about 100 mattresses 100 blankets and 100 mosquito nets. The beneficiaries included 1. Kyankima home for abandoned children in Kasangati run by a single elderly woman with a big heart, 2. Child focus Uganda in Gayaza home for children and youth with intellectual/ physical disability 3. Save Street children uganda in kamwokya 4.To 15 homes in kifumbira zone in kamwokya. Later on in the afternoon I gave a motivational talk about entrepreneurship to Students of Makerere university in the university Main hall. Creative minds is all we need for the present generation. The little we can do we must do.

Kudos to the Ghetto president for touching these little children’s lives.

Report indicates that 1.7 million children die due to environmental pollution

Second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation and inadequate hygiene kill at least one in four children every year, according to two new reports published by the World Health Organisation-WHO today.

The first report’ Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment reveals that a large portion of the most common causes of death among children aged 1 month to 5 years – diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia; are preventable by interventions known to reduce environmental risks, such as access to safe water and clean cooking fuels.

But failure to take appropriate action has resulted into the death of 1.7 million children annually, according to the reports.

WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan says such harmful exposures often start in the mother’s womb increasing the risk of premature birth, an increased risk of pneumonia in childhood, and a lifelong risk of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

“A polluted environment is a deadly one – particularly for young children,” Dr Chan says in a statement this morning. “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.”

A companion report, don’t pollute my future! The Impact of the Environment on Children’s Health, shows that up to 570 000 children under 5 years die from respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, attributable to air pollution, and second-hand smoke. Another 361,000 die due to diarrhea, as a result of poor access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene.

The report adds that 270,000 children die during their first month of life from conditions, including prematurity and 200 000 deaths of children die from malaria which could also be prevented through reducing breeding sites of mosquitoes or covering drinking-water storage. A similar number of children die from poisoning, falls, and drowning.

According to the reports, children are equally facing emerging environmental hazards, such as electronic and electrical waste (like old mobile phones) that is improperly recycled, exposing them to toxins which can lead to reduced intelligence, attention deficits, lung damage, and cancer.

There are also increasing rates of asthma in children due to climate change and rising levels of temperatures and carbon dioxide. Children are also exposed to harmful chemicals through food, water, air and products around them.

“A polluted environment results in a heavy toll on the health of our children,” Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health says adding that  improving water quality or using cleaner fuels will result in massive health benefits.

 

 

 

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Police rescues two children from kidnap in Kamuli

Kaberamaido Police have rescued two children, a year after their alleged kidnap. They are 4-year-old Amina Nansubuga and her 8-year-old brother, Sharif Kanyike.

The duo was rescued early this week from the home of Margaret Itage and Catherine Imede in Ararak A ward in Kaberamaido town where they have been living for over a year.

Both Itage and Imede are being held at Kaberamaido Central Police Station. Christine Rose Shakina, the officer in charge of the Child and Family Protection Unit at Kaberamaido Central Police Station, says the children were kidnapped from Kamuli district last year.

According to Shakina, the children identify their father as Abdullah Kizito, a resident of Kamuli district. Kanyike explains that they were kidnapped by an unidentified woman and forced into a taxi in Kamuli on their way to school to pick their report cards.

Norah Erengu, the LC I chairperson of Ararak A ward says she received a tip off from residents on how the children were being mistreated and tortured by Itage. Itage told Police that the children were dropped at her home by her sister about a year ago claiming to have adopted them from an orphanage.

Police have preferred charges of child rights abuse, kidnap and abduction against the suspects. Police have also commenced a search for the parents of the minors. Section 126 (b) of the penal code act states that “any person who unlawfully takes another person under the age of eighteen years out of the custody of any of the parents or of any other person having lawful care or charge over that person, commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

 

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Moroto teacher suspended over breastfeeding child at school

A female teacher at Child Jesus primary school in Moroto municipality is in trouble for breastfeeding her three- months- old baby at school. Agnes Nate was given a two week’s suspension by the head teacher, Sr. Rosario John Masawe last week.

Her suspension follows a resolution by the school management on February 11, 2017 deterring breastfeeding mothers from keeping their babies at school. According to information obtained from the school, management asked breastfeeding teachers not to bring their babies into the school compound.

Some of the teachers say although management bars them from breastfeeding their children at school, it doesn’t allow them to dash back home and breastfeed them children during break time. A breastfeeding a teacher at the School told URN on condition of anonymity that she is contemplating weaning her seven-month- old baby so as to cope with the new regulations.

She expresses fear for the life of her son, who she says is sickly since he doesn’t breastfeed regularly because of the new school regulation. Another teacher on maternity leave also told URN on condition of anonymity that she is considering quitting her job after learning about the new school policy. She feels the new changes are cruel to her one and half month old baby.

Sr. Rosario John Masawe, the head teacher Child Jesus Primary school, says management arrived at such a decision following an inspection report by health experts, which revealed that the school was vulnerable to infections due to poor hygiene and sanitation from the baby attendants. She however, says mothers can check on their children at home with permission from the school administration.

Samuel Ewangu, the Chairperson Uganda National Teacher’s Union Moroto Central branch, says they are investigating the case and will come up with recommendations after consulting with their top bosses in the region.

Ewangu says such harsh rules from the administration affect the teacher’s concentration in class, which in turn affects performance.

Emma Longoria, the Moroto Labor Officer has condemned the suspension of the teacher and promised to follow up the matter.

The Uganda Policy guidelines on infant and young children feeding 2007, provides the framework for enhancing the nutrition, health, growth and development of infants and young children, as well as strengthening care and support for their parents/caretakers to achieve optimal infant and young child feeding.

Its notes that breastfeeding is a traditional practice in Uganda and the majority of mothers initiate and maintain breastfeeding for long periods. “Under normal circumstances, an infant should be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months of life,” reads the guideline.

 

 

 

 

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Pregnant women benefit from free antenatal care by UNICEF in Kamuli

By Patricia Osman
Pregnant mothers have been given free antenatal care, a number of children have been immunized, and adults benefited from free HIV/AIDS testing and counseling in the eastern district of Kamuli.
 Expectant women have also received folic acid tablets and children given de-worming tablets as part of UNICEF  activities as it launches the Early Childhood program in the district.
 Thomas Badaza the focal person of ECD in Kamuli says the program will go a long way in reducing the number of cases early marriages, child neglect by men, defilement and incest in the Busoga region.  The campaign is running under the theme “ nurturing and caring for children”.

Parliamentarians Lobby for more financial assistance for vulnerable groups

By Wasswa Deo

Members on Uganda parliamentary forum on social protection are calling the government to urgently look for financial resources to roll out the social assistance grant for empowerment program countrywide. This program was established to cater for the well-being of elderly people in the country.

Nakawunde Sarah woman Member of Parliament Mpigi district says, for over 5 years the program has been in place it shouldn’t be supporting only 15 districts out of 111 districts in the country. Through this program each elderly person is entitled to receive 25000/= on monthly basis.

She was speaking during a meeting between civil society organizations and members of parliament on social protection platform to forge way forward on lobbying  for more financial resources from the government to facilitate the well-being of vulnerable groups.

Speaking at the same meeting, Richard Ssewakiryanga, the executive director of Uganda NGO forum has noted that the introduction of universal health care and child grants for mothers and children less than five years can lead to significant benefits on health outcomes, improved human capital and reduced expenditure on healthcare. The government of Uganda should therefore consider introducing such program.

Court orders Mulago hospital 85M in lost new born child case

High Court in Kampala has fined Mulago National Referral Hospital 85 million Shillings as general damages to a couple whose twin baby mysteriously got lost at the facility more than three years ago.

The couple; Michael Mubangizi and Jennifer Musimenta, sued the hospital after one of their twin babies allegedly went missing shortly after birth on March 12, 2012.  Presiding judge Lydia Mugambe Ssali held that the baby got lost due to the negligence of Mariam Mundida, the mid-wife on duty that fateful day.

The judge also justified the 85 million Shillings awarded to the couple on grounds that they suffered psychological torture of not knowing or burying their own baby, a cherished ritual in African culture.

She added that this case is a pointer to a bigger problem of under staffing in Mulago and the country at large.  In her defense, the mid-wife on duty that fateful day told court that she had to attend to another expectant mother and only remembered about her when she had returned to her home.

Also in her judgment, the judge took note of the psychological torture the couples goes through on daily basis when people continuously ask them where the other twin baby is.

” Accordingly, the plantiffs (couple) claim is allowed in part with the following declarations and consequential orders which I find necessary to nip in the systematic problems in Mulago in the bud.” ruled Justice Mugambe.

The couple had asked for a compensation of 300 million Shillings but the judge said it was on a higher side since they did not suffer cruel psychological torture.

The judge ruled that Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), that was a joint petitioner, be allowed free access into the health facility  to continuously to ensure that steps are being taken in full filling the orders of court.

Police was also directed to conclusively investigate the disappearance of the twin baby in question and report to court its findings within six months from today.

Reacting to the judgment, Michael Mubangizi, the father of the missing twin baby, welcomed the award but was quick to say that that money is not everything as they still want Mulago hospital to avail them with their child whether ‘alive’ or ‘dead’.

 

 

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