Monday, November 30, 2009

Baylor Uganda Children demand Rights

By Esther Nakkazi

“We have a right, the right of living; we have a hope, for the future; we need care; we need love; we have to grow, its a generation!” sang children swinging their hands and dancing away to the drum beat.
Child labor, defilement, child sacrifice, we need our rights! recited an HIV positive young girl, a member of the Baylor Uganda children choir at the 3rd annual national paediatric HIV&AIDS with a theme ‘accelerating access to HIV prevention, care and treatment for all children,’ conference held in Kampala 26-27th November.
The conference this time emphasized the need for indiscriminate universal rights to counseling, treatment, paediatric care and rights to all, irrespective of age, gender, race and geographical location.
“Children’s rights continue to be violated by their parents and care takers. They refuse to bring the children for testing and treatment and some of them even take them away,” said Prof. Addy Kekitiinwa the executive director Baylor Uganda Children’s Foundation.
This years World Aids Day slogan is ‘Access my Right, Testing my responsibility’ which has been coined from the global theme of ‘Universal Access and Human Rights.’
In Uganda, health officials say many parents deny their children treatment or drop it and opt for spiritual healing- just because the children cannot make their own decisions. But this should not mean they be denied treatment.
In Uganda 120,000-150,000 children aged less than 15 years are estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS of which 50,000 have advanced HIV disease and need anti retroviral therapy (ART).
HIV is one of the major killers of children in Uganda, one in six deaths in children is as a result of HIV infection, 30 percent of HIV infected children will die by one year of age and 50 percent before the age of two unless they are identified and treated early.
One of the Baylor choir children said some parents have become a menace and do not want to look after their HIV positive children. Some parents sell the children’s items, others are drunkards and some even chase the children away from the homes when they establish that they are HIV positive. But these children like all other children and have simple basic needs.
The Government has come up to assure that it will ensure scale-up of access to services for Early Infant HIV testing and treatment, and for care and support for all children that are rejected and affected by HIV.
But although enrollment of children into HIV care has improved over the past one year, it is still very low compared to that of adults. Of the 193,000 people accessing ART by the end of June 2009, only 16,500 (8.5%) were children aged less than 15 years of age.
Children in rural settings do not have easy access to ART as compared to those in urban settings, over 60 percent of children on ART of children are treated in urban settings.
One of the major problems is that the unique and dissimilar issues of children infected and affected by HIV&AIDS are often lumped-up together with those of adults, giving children’s issues less attention than required or no attention at all.
Aids where did you come from, we are stigmatized in school, even in church; defilement, child sacrifice we need our rights! Aids where did you come from, parents so discriminative! the Baylor youngsters danced away as they exited from the conference hall.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.