A combination of war, HIV/AIDS, EBOLA Hemorrhagic
Fever and Natural Disasters have caused trauma to the populations
of Bundibugyo District. Although the war in Bundibugyo effectively
ended six years ago, households and communities are yet to fully
recover from its impact, including a high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.
Available data from VCT sites puts HIV prevalence at 16.5% among
people testing for HIV.
Further, it is estimated that 14.5% (source: Belgium
Technical Services Survey in Bundibugyo) of children in Bundibugyo
are Orphans (have lost one or both parents). The cause for Orphan
hood has been brought about by many factors some of which are the
said armed conflict which ravaged the land from 1997 to 2002, HIV/AIDS
and EBOLA Hemorrhagic fever among others.
Further still, stigma has cropped into the communities
to the extent that it is now difficult for people to mix or intermarry
or even stay together freely. This has been majorly caused by the
fact that EBOLA is a contagious viral disease which spreads very
first and kills in a very short period of time. People who contracted
the virus and survived are now like outcasts in the community every
shying a way from them. One man by the names of Mpanga Godwin a
habitat of Busaru Sub county in Bundibugyo District (Survivor) was
recently attached by village mates who burnt his house and demanded
that he should shift immediately from that area least he infect
them with the EBOLA disease.
Many other people who belong to the families of
the deceased or suffered the EBOLA Disease and survived narrowly
are now stigmatized due to isolation and low self esteem. The District
Administration is trying to intervene but the coverage and impact
is still so mean to cause any reasonable change.
Further still, people living with HIV/AIDS are also
stigmatized because every one around them pin points at them and
are regarded as less important in the communities where they leave.
An Assessment carried out by our field staffs revealed that in every
ten households of people living with HIV/AIDS at lease there is
a case of committing suicide every year. This gives a clear picture
of what those people are going through.
On the side of the Orphans, little attention has
been drawn to them. Most of them abandoned school due to lack of
support. The girls are married off at a very tender age by their
mature relatives who do not want to carry a burden of educating
them and the boys who try to struggle to attain education on their
own do not exceed lower primary which can not warrant them any position
in society. Young Children have fled to streets where they live
a life of vagabonds. Those who persist to look for survival else
where are turned into Child laborers doing heavy work.
Young girls and boys have been exploited and sexually
abused and there no voice raised to provide an intervention on the
matter. If this situation is left to accelerate it will lead to
worthlessness of traumatized/stigmatized people which will cause
a very negative impact on the future generation of Bundibugyo District
and Uganda as a whole as these people can easily be mobilized by
people who have their own chaotic politic interests and plant rebellion.