Care for people living with disabilities in the West Nile region of Uganda:
Bakaitwoha, Everd Maniple
Nakiwala, Stella Regina
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Disability is a common occurrence in many countries and a subject of much discussion and lobby. People with disability (PWD) are frequently segregated in society and by-passed for many opportunities. Stigma hinders their potential contribution to society. Doctors with Africa CUAMM, an Italian NGO, started a project to improve the life of PWD in the West Nile region in northwestern Uganda in 2003. An orthopaedic workshop, a physiotherapy unit and a community-based rehabilitation programme were set up as part of the project. This ex-post evaluation found that the project made an important contribution to the life of the PWD through its activities, which were handed over to the local referral hospital for continuation after three years. The services have been maintained and their utilisation has been expanded through a network of outreach clinics. Community-based rehabilitation (CBR) workers mobilise the community for disability assessment and supplement the output of qualified health workers in service delivery. However, the quality of care during clinics is still poor on account of large numbers. In the face of the departure of the international NGO, a new local NGO has been formed by stakeholders to take over some functions previously done by the international NGO, such as advocacy and resource mobilisation. This is an example of a local resource facilitating the sustainability of good initiatives. Among other things, this paper recommends that the CBR programme be strengthened and expanded to cover the entire region. It also recommends that outreach clinics should be planned in a better way in order to reduce the workload of the health workers and improve the quality of care. It also recommends that the local NGO should be supported to fit into the shoes of the more experienced but exiting international NGO.