The deaf ask to be excused from social media taxes

By Moses Kidandi
The deaf people in Uganda have called upon government to exempt them from social media tax, saying it complicates their communication  and access to essential services such as education, health, justice, worship and news and information.
Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD) says that they are ready to compile and share a list of an estimated 1,083,649 deaf people in Uganda according to the 2014 Uganda National Housing and Population Census report.
The deaf who have just concluded the International Deaf Awareness Week in the eastern district of Mbale  have also embarked on a campaign to teach and promote sign language digitally in a bid to increase the usage and understanding of sign language.

Under the digital content for learning of sign language, learners will be able to access content through enhanced videos aided with graphical illustrations and all content can be stored in one place and accessed online. Learners will also be able to interact with each other and team up to improve their communication skills.

They say with social media tax all their efforts to have their initiatives promoted will be undermined and are urging government to give them special consideration.

Hellen Ikitot, a teacher at Mbale Secondary School for the Deaf explains that  Increased awareness and use of the Uganda sign language would ease information flow between the deaf people and the wider public.

Dr. Edgar Napoleon Asiimwe, the programme manager, Research at the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER), the funding organisation for the project, said, “Digitalizing will help everyone to know how  to communicate.

Uganda’s community of the deaf “We have been ignored by government.”

By Edwin Muhumuza

Uganda’s community of the deaf have raised concern following the lack of access to health information including HIV/AIDS. This after a survey revealed that HIV prevalence among them stood at 1.9% and is rising. They have also lashed at the ministry of health demanding for health awareness information in sign language across all health centers and communication media.

The Persons with hearing impairments accuse the ministry of neglecting them in regard to awareness on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.Their remarks following a survey that indicates that only 58.3% have ever known about the viral infections and majority die without ever knowing they were infected.

According to the Ministry Of Health, Commissioner in charge of Disease Control, Dr. Patrick Tusiime , he agrees that government has concentrated on treatment and focused less on prevention of HIV. There  are over 1million deaf people in Uganda and 1% are living with HIV. The Crane survey 2017 was conducted among groups at increased risk for HIV in Kampala.