Uganda is a landlocked country located right on the equator in East Africa. The country shares borders with five neighboring countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan. Named the “Pearl of Africa” by Sir Winston Churchill, Uganda’s terrain ranges from swampland to savannah, and snow-capped mountains to semi-desert. It has large lakes, including Lake Victoria, which are source waters for the Nile. Uganda is famous for its rare gorillas, which live deep in the mountain forests.
Uganda’s 40 million people are diverse - representing many ethnic groups. English and Swahili are the official languages. Ganda is the most widely spoken native tongue. Christianity is the predominant faith (86%) and Islam is the second largest religion (12%). Uganda’s history is wrought with sectarian violence and regional wars. Thousands have been killed and millions displaced. Currently, they have one of the most corrupt governments in the world whose scandals and embezzlement have caused many nations to suspend aid. Overpopulation is a significant problem, with the 5th highest fertility rate in the world (nearly 6 children per woman) and a median age of 15. This puts overwhelming strain on the country’s limited means of providing food, employment, education, health care, housing, and basic services.
Uganda ranks among the 25 poorest countries in the world. In 2012, 37.8% of the population lived on less than $1.25 a day. The Gross Domestic Product per capita was $2,300. 38% of the population did not have access to clean water and sanitation in 2010. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy with nearly 72% of the labor force working in this area, at least part time. Uganda faces serious economic challenges with it’s high energy costs, inadequate transportation and energy infrastructure, along with low investor confidence due to corruption in the government.
Most children in Uganda attend school for at least 5 years, and the literacy rate is 78%. Data collected in 2012 had Uganda ranked the 2nd highest dropout rate in Africa at 68%. The public school system has been unable to meet the demands of an exploding youth population. There are not enough schools, trained teachers, and educational materials and the quality of the education is very low. Sadly, children from the poorest homes are often forced to drop out and help their families with domestic labor and agricultural work which continues the cycle of poverty.
Uganda has been hit very hard by the AIDs epidemic and currently has 1.5 million people (7.2% of the population) living with HIV. The life expectancy rate is 55.9% and the infant mortality rate is 56.1% deaths per 1000 live births. An unmet need for contraception has led to extremely high fertility rates. Uganda faces major obstacles with their health care system with a shortage of medical facilities and health care workers, lack of availability of needed treatments, and high costs. For many of the poor living in rural areas, they have to travel a great distance to reach a medical facility.
HEMOPHILIA IN UGANDA
There are an estimated 4,000 people with hemophilia in Uganda. At this point in time only 100 have been identified--just 2%.
The Haemophilia Foundation of Uganda (HFU) was founded in 2008 and its board of directors is led by four parents. Fortunately HFU is assisted by two dedicated volunteers, including a social worker named Agnes Kisakye who performs administrative tasks and is the key contact for Save One Life.
There is one public hospital in the country that treats hemophilia--Mulago National Referral Hospital, located in the capital city of Kampala. It is the largest hospital in the country and also the teaching hospital for the Makarere University College of Health Sciences HFU’s medical advisory board is comprised of health personnel from this facility.
There is no budget allocation for factor in the country. Patients are dependent on donations from companies, the World Federation of Hemophilia, and Project Share.