The Church of Uganda Archbishop, Dr. Samuel Stephen Kaziimba Mugalu has asked men to always support their wives to look after children with disability.
Speaking during the scientific national fathers’ day engagement workshop at his home in Namirembe, Archbishop Kaziimba on Friday, Kaziimba said that it is appalling that many men have neglected their families that have children with disability.
“I call upon all men to on top of women, politics, football and money, discuss children. They should be part of your day today conversations. Focus on your children but most importantly the disabled children,” Kaziimba said.
The Church of Uganda Archbishop said that children with all forms of disability should never be treated as bad omen in the family but rather loved in equal measures as other family members.
“You should be proud to be fathers of children with disability because they are a gift from God. Look after them and above all, engage them in everything you do. Since there must be both a man and woman to have a child in place, this should be the same to care for children with disability.”
According to Ruth Nalugya, the Executive Director for the National Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Uganda (SHAU) over 6000 children are born every year with spina bifida and hydrocephalus condition but noted that many mothers to these children are abandoned by their husbands.
She insisted that there is need to celebrate men who are committed to helping their wives look after children with disability
“We want celebrate the few fathers out there who have committed themselves to taking care of their children with spina bifida because they are very vulnerable. We also send out a call to the rest who are intending to run away not to do so. Support your wives to look after these children with disability, “Nalugya said.
“Only 10% of the men out there are supporting their wives in looking after children with disability because many of them say these children are a sign of bad omen The same happens at their places of work but this is wrong.”
She urged all men to take part in inclusive parenting of all their children, including those with disability.
Speaking about legislation, the National Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Uganda Executive Director said despite presence of laws and policies to ensure rights for everyone, including children with disability, implementation is not done.
“Uganda is one of the countries that commit itself to protect the rights of people with disabilities. We have policies on paper but the problem is implementation. We ask government to have this changed,”Nalugya said.
According to Florence Namaganda, a neuropediatric physiotherapist and founder for Mukisa foundation and Dawn special children’s centre, this is a collective responsibility for everyone to ensure children with disability are cared for.
“It takes a village to raise a child. Looking after children with disability should be the duty of everyone including the mother, father and all family members. Let everyone join hands in this noble cause. We need to help these children have a decent life ,”Namaganda said.
The national fathers’ day engagement workshop was organized under the theme, “Recognizing the role of men in inclusive parenting: A call to action.”