The General Context in Uganda
Uganda is making good progress in its drive towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets; HIV sero prevalence rates have stabilized at 6.4% (although the rate of new infections are said to be on the increase), there is better awareness about HIV and improved access to ART in the country and modest improvements have been made in Infant, under 5 and maternal Mortality rates. However, the country is ranked 154 out of 177 on the Human Development Index (HDI) Scale (2007/08 Human Development Report) with life expectancy at birth being 49.7 years and a Human Poverty Index (HPI) of 34.7.
Natural and man-made disasters such as the over 20 years of civil conflict in the north; cattle rustling, insecurity and recurrent drought in the north-east; floods in the east and recurrent epidemic outbreaks in all parts of the country (especially in the north) contribute significantly to the poor HDI and HPI. The effects of these disasters are often severe due to lack of early warning system for disasters especially at the community level, lack of preparedness, risk and vulnerability reduction mechanisms and inadequate human, financial and material resources needed to effectively prepare for and timely respond to these emergencies. The health consequences of these disasters often overwhelm and destroy the fragile health systems and infrastructures in the country, which in turn results in high morbidity and mortality rates.