Chronic TRIAD was pleased to provide a full day of events focused on a topic which JHU faculty member Stephen Wegener likes to call the “tail end” of TRIAD: disability and rehabilitation (D&R) in Uganda.
The morning of 23 May began with an exhibition in the Dean’s Garden of different organizations that provide D&R services including the D&R division of the Ministry of Health (MOH), Occupational Therapy at Mulago Hospital, Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda, National Union of Women with Disabilities of Uganda, the Community-Based Rehabilitation Alliance, and the Spinal Injuries Association of Uganda. Following the exhibition and lunch, Chronic TRIAD led a widely attended D&R seminar in the Davis Lecture Theatre. The goals of this seminar were to reflect on what Uganda has been doing to address D&R, what is the impact of these policies, interventions, and services, and what more could be done in the future.
Dr. Stanley Bubikire of the MOH first presented the state of D&R in Uganda including the services provided. Dr. Wegener then introduced the seminar participants to the Chronic TRIAD program including its objectives and its current work to build capacity to conduct trauma, injury, and disability research. Another JHU Chronic TRIAD faculty member, Dr. Jacob Bentley, delivered the third presentation. After highlighting the different leading models and frameworks for disability, Dr. Bentley presented some findings from a recent study conducted by JHU Chronic TRIAD faculty member Dr. Abdulgafoor Bachani. Dr. Bachani has been working with the Iganga-Mayuge Demographic Surveillance Site to measure the existing burden of disabilities in those two districts, including how the burden varies by individual characteristics such as socioeconomic status. Finally, Dr. Bentley presented disability statistics across different countries including Uganda.
The seminar culminated in a question and answer session with a panel of the three presenters. This lively discussion covered topics such as enforcing building requirements to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities, addressing the challenge of limited human resources, and improving the availability of degree programs related to D&R such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy.