Protection and Promotion of Children's Right to Life in Uganda: A case Study of Hoima and Mbale Referral Hospitals.
Owor G., Faridah
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ABSTRACT This study aimed at assessing the realisation of children‘s right to life in Hoima and Mbale Regional Referral Hospitals. The study set out to assess the perceptions of health workers towards the legal framework on children‘s right to life in Hoima and Mbale hospitals, to assess the capacity of duty bearers to protect and promote children‘s right to life in Hoima and Mbale hospitals and to identify and examine the challenges to the realization of children‘s right to life in Hoima and Mbale Hospitals. The assessment reviewed international, regional and national standards and policies. A case study research design was used employing both qualitative and quantitative techniques to collect and analyze data. A sample of 123 respondents and informants was used which included hospital management, medical staff, non-medical staff and parents/guardians of child patients. Data was collected through reviewing documents, use of questionnaires and interviews. The researcher collected field data on the perceptions of health workers towards children right to life, the capacity of duty bearers to realise children‘s right to life and the challenges that affect the realisation of children‘s right to life in Mbale and Hoima Hospitals. The researcher found out that malaria is the main challenge to the realisation of children‘s right to life. Diarrhea, inadequate funding and inadequate personnel also affect the realisation of children‘s right to life. It inferred that Uganda still has a high child death rate especially for children of 0-5years of age. It was also found out that medical workers prefer to work in the private sector compared to government due to low pay, medical workers practice dual employment working in both government and private hospitals. In addition, the study found that duty bearers have capacity to protect and promote children‘s right to life however much this is sometimes limited by inadequate funding and inadequate personnel. The study concluded that unless funding for health is increased, most of the challenges will not easily change. There is need to increase the number of medical staff and the Public service commission should hire more medical personnel and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development should also allocate more funds to the ministry of health. The Ministry of Health should also work with the ministry of public service to be able to supervise medical personnel and prohibit the practice of dual practice where medical workers get two jobs, one in the public and another in the private sector. The study also concluded that the efforts that the Ministry of Health has put in place to fight malaria and diarrhea have not completely solved the challenge of child mortality and malaria has continued to claim infant life. The study recommends that the Ministry of Health should support recruitment of more personnel and Government should increase funding to hospitals in order to procure enough drugs and equipment. The study also recommends that government should make a policy that requires medical graduates who are sponsored by government to work in the public sector for at least two years after graduation. This will reduce the challenge of inadequate personnel. If the MGLSD and the Ministry of Health implement these recommendations, they will be able to improve the realisation of children‘s right to life.