Why people with hearing impairment need to be heard

Tuesday June 30 2020


By Munira Gimono

On March 11, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared coronavirus as a global pandemic. It called for governments’ action to halt the spread of the virus.

In Uganda, the pandemic has curtailed the rights citizens, with a disproportionate impact on the deaf and dumb people. This article provides an analysis of the impact of Covid-19 on the deaf and dumb people in Uganda.

United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) recognises that outbreaks such as the Covid-19 pandemic affect women and men differently. It worsens not only gender inequality, but also the vulnerable communities such as refugees and displaced people, persons with disabilities, youth and the elderly.

In the current public health emergency, human and financial resources are diverted from various health programmes to the fight Covid-19. People with disabilities, especially deaf and dumb, have been left out of many government programmes.

In their silent world, they are not aware of what is happening in their own country - from healthcare programmes, food distribution - to other necessities that vulnerable people need to access. Their human rights have been denied and violated in the way that they are beaten,

The Daily Monitor of April 30, interviewed Mr Willy Oloya, a resident of Mugila West in Agago District, who was still receiving treatment at Dr Ambrosli Memorial Hospital Kalongo after his leg was amputated.


It is alleged that on April 7 at about 8.30pm, an LDU patrol team, which was on its way to Lacekoto Army Detach from a curfew operation in Adilang, fired several bullets at the victim after he didn’t stop when they asked him to do so.

Mr Daniel Lagony, who is Mr Oloya’s uncle, told the Daily Monitor on Tuesday that while the victim walked to his home, the LDU’s repeatedly asked him to stop, but he continued walking because he doesn’t hear. That prompted a security personnel to start firing at him.

Law enforcers are ignorant about this impairment. Besides, some of them don’t care to ask why some people don’t speak. Therefore, government has a duty to sensitise security agencies on how to deal with deaf and dumb citizens.

This has been a big challenge to people with hearing impairment. For instance, these can hardly access materials or literature on Covid-19, especially those in rural areas with no television sets.

Government has a duty to provide information to all citizens, including people living with disabilities.