I am pleased to share with you this report on how UNICEF and the Government of Uganda partnered in 2006 - as we embarked upon our five-year Country Programme - to match the determination of Uganda's children to live and develop into healthy, educated and productive adults.
With a contribution of US$54.2 million, UNICEF, the Government of Uganda and partners were able to achieve concrete results for children and women in the areas of child survival, basic education, protection against violence and abuse, HIV/AIDS prevention and social policy development. This was made possible by the provision of strong technical support to the districts of programmatic focus to respond to the ever-present needs of children and women including in conflict-affected northern Uganda and the Karamoja sub-region. We also increased partnerships with civil society and sought joint programming opportunities with sister UN agencies to create synergies through collaborative action. UNICEF supported the Ministry of Health to procure supplies for key child survival interventions, such as vaccines, emergency drug kits, anti-retro-viral medicines and mosquito nets, valued at US$18.1 million or more than double the cost in 2005, thanks largely to the increase in donor partnerships and contributions in response to the humanitarian situation.
The national launch in 2006 of the Report on the Situation of Children and Women in Uganda (2005) provided crucial opportunities to raise awareness about critical gaps and ways to improve the realisation of children and women's rights. UNICEF strengthened its advocacy work during the year through high-profile visits by influential individuals such as UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Rima Salah and Goodwill Ambassador Angelique Kidjo.
To be sure, the year brought with it numerous challenges, which had to be overcome and transformed into opportunities to produce results for children and women. Uganda's multi-party elections in February and the subsequent increase in the number of districts from 69 in mid-2005 to 80 by the end of 2006, for instance, required increased effort and support to new district leadership and their planning and accountability work.
The signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement in August by the Government of Uganda and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), in negotiations mediated by the Government of Southern Sudan, was another watershed that created hopes for peace for more than 1.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in northern Uganda as well as those children and women still with the LRA. We continue to urge the Government of Uganda and the LRA to fully embrace this opportunity to finally resolve their 20-year armed conflict through a comprehensive peace agreement, and to keep the best interests of children and women foremost in the process.
As a limited number of IDPs started to leave camps to return to their home communities, UNICEF and its partners geared up to rehabilitate and re-equip health clinics and staff housing in areas of return. Key supplies such as school kits and family latrine materials were pre-positioned and a major Back-to-School campaign in return communities is planned for 2007.
In north-eastern Uganda, a deteriorating situation of insecurity in the Karamoja sub-region placed increasing demands on the humanitarian community to respond to the displacement of more than 1,000 people and to reports of gross human rights violations. In 2007, we will forge ahead with our commitment to bringing even better results for children and women. We will strive to focus on vulnerable children trapped in conflict. Girls and young women who remain marginalised will also receive continued attention through projects addressing the education of girls, the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, reproductive health and protection against gender-based violence. We will also ensure that human rights and child rights principles will guide our work in all areas.
On behalf of all UNICEF staff in Uganda, I thank you for your unwavering solidarity with and support for the children and women we serve. Protecting and furthering their rights to survival, development, protection and participation will help expand opportunities for children and women to contribute with dignity to the progress of their communities and, indeed, their nation.
- Immunisation coverage of over 80% for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis in 14 out of the 23 UNICEF focus districts.
- 79% of children in 44 districts provided with Vitamin A during 'Child Health Days.'
- Increased access to safe water in camps for internally displaced persons from 7 litres/person/day in 2005, to 9 litres.
- A 44% increase in the coverage of community-based child protection systems in 7 northern and eastern districts.
- One million children received their birth registration certificates in 23 UNICEF focus districts, including conflict-affected regions.
- Expanded access to Early Childhood Development for 12% of young children in 4 northern districts.
- Improved pupil-to-classroom ratio from 75:1 to 64:1; increased access to safe water from 58 to 90%; and installed 290 latrine stances for primary school pupils in 4 conflict-affected districts through the revival of the Child-Friendly Schools initiative.
- Access to HIV testing for vulnerable young people increased through the provision of 200,000 test kits in northern Uganda.
- Improved quality and reach of care and protection services for 18,885 orphans and vulnerable children in northern and eastern regions.