'Every Last Child' campaign is launched in Kampala

Thursday 28 April 2016

On Tuesday, April 26th, Save the Children launched its new campaign, Every Last Child. The campaign aims to ensure that each child has an equal opportunity to survive and benefit from access to healthcare, education and protection regardless of who they are or where they live.

The campaign calls on decision makers at the household, local, national and international levels to ensure that barriers that prevent the poorest children from accessing life-saving services are eliminated.

“The chances of surviving, learning and being protected as a child in Uganda vary very significantly according to where one lives. Children in remote areas have been left behind in the country’s progress,” said Barbara Burroughs, Save the Children Country Director.

Burroughs explained that such children are less likely to be healthy and survive, go to school and be protected from traditional practices such as child marriage.

At the same event, comedian Anne Kansiime was unveiled as the campaign’s ambassador.

Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter of Rights and Welfare of the Child, to which Uganda is signatory, and under the country’s Constitution, all children have certain rights. However, in spite of the progress Uganda has made in improving children’s welfare in the last few years, not every child has benefited from it – many of them because of where they live, and because of who they are.

Although nationally, maternal, infant and under-five mortality rates are declining, there are significant disparities in survival figures across the different regions of Uganda, with remote areas faring the worst.

“In Karamoja, for instance, the mortality rate of infants and children under five years of age is more than twice that of Kampala. This is because of the inadequate infrastructure, few skilled health workers, limited equipment and frequent medicine stock-outs. Most of these lives can be saved, but this will require new approaches,” said Burroughs.

In education, while the government has put in place Universal Primary Education, and the national primary school attendance has risen dramatically, the learning outcomes are far worse in the remote areas of Uganda. Only half the children of primary school going age are attending school in the areas of West Nile, Karamoja and Western Uganda. Actually, seven out of 10 of these children don’t complete primary school. This is mainly due to the additional costs towards Parents and Teachers’ Associations, examination fees, and other costs that parents in remote areas cannot afford.

Additionally, child marriage, child labour, violence against children and other protection issues remain a significant concern across the country despite several attempts by the Government to counter them.

Against this background Save the Children called upon the Government to consider local needs and challenges when allocating health resources; to allocate adequate education resources to non-formal schools that act as the alternative where children cannot access the formal schools, and to develop a comprehensive and appropriately funded child protection strategy in order to address the needs of children who live in the remote areas of the country.

“Unless steps are taken to recognise that excluded children exist and to provide them with the services they are entitled to, it will be impossible for all children to survive and thrive,” said Burroughs.