Original Research

Children’s perceptions of their right to quality healthcare in Uganda: Critical gaps in programme and policy development

Hilda K. Nankunda
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 3, No 2 | a155 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v3i2.155 | © 2015 Hilda K. Nankunda | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 May 2015 | Published: 12 October 2015

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Hilda K. Nankunda, School of Social Work, University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom


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Abstract

In 1989, Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) stipulated good quality healthcare, the best healthcare possible, as a human right for every child. This qualitative study in Uganda examined children’s awareness of and access to timely, quality healthcare as part of a broader study examining whether institutions established for children in Africa are raising awareness about children’s rights amongst children and engaging with children in decision-making and planning. To establish whether children possessed knowledge of their rights and could inform decisions at a community level. Using action research approaches, the team conducted focus group discussions (FGD), drawing, key informant interviews(KII), dialogue meetings (DM), and observations in one village in a rural and another in aperi-urban district, with 72 participants (21 children aged 10–15 and 51 adult stakeholders at community, district and national levels). Children were aware of their right to quality health services. In FGDs and drawing, children described their dissatisfaction with and difficulties in accessing healthcare services. These were confirmed with the adult stakeholders in the KIIs and DMs, the DMs also including children who presented their FGD results to community stakeholders. The findings suggested a lack of clear guidelines in schools or health facilities to support children needing medical attention. There was limited stakeholder capacity to involve children meaningfully in programme plans and decisions directly affecting them. Recommendations included the development of explicit policies with specific strong linkages between educational, health and other service institutions to promote, protect and respect children’s rights and also training to elicit children’s perspectives in decisions that affect them.


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