Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ronald Balimwezo Nsubugu, the Nakawa Division Mayor has asked Government to scrap taxes on assistive devices meant for Persons with Disabilities.
He explains that PWDs also have a right to enjoy their lives but they have failed to do so due to the fact that the devices meant for them are heavily taxed by Government, which hinders PWDs from accessing them.
“It is a pity that the devices which are there to help us to enjoy the world are highly taxed and these taxes end up in hands of corrupt government officials. We want these devices to be free taxes so that we can buy them and enjoy life,” Balimwezo says.
According to Balimwezo, the cochlea implant, which helps people with hearing impairment, costs Shillings 15 million. “Where will a poor person with Hearing impairment get all this money so that they can hear like any other person in the society?
He advised Government to borrow a leaf from neighboring Kenya and enact a law scrapping taxes from everything for PWDS.
He disclosed this while addressing people with hearing impairment and parents of the children with the condition at Ntinda School for the deaf during celebrations organised by Uganda Federation of Hard of Hearing (UFHOH). Masitula Nalubwama, the Executive Director UFHOH, says government hasn’t done much to help persons with hearing impairment since assistive devices are still expensive.
“If government managed to put the affirmative action for persons with disabilities, even us persons with hard of hearing should be catered for. This is because people regard persons with hard hearing as persons without disability,” she said.
She says that digital hearing aid costs around Shillings 3, 000,000 from eulogy Centre, which is very costly for most of them.
The World Hearing Day is commemorated every March 3rd with the aim of increasing awareness about good ear health and prevention of deafness. This year, the day was commemorated under the theme ‘Do not let hearing loss limit you’ to mark the importance of having regular check-ups as a strategy for preventing Hearing loss and deafness.
The World Health Organization estimates that globally, more than 466 million people have hearing loss of some degree and this is expected to increase to 630 million by 2030, and 900 million by 2050, if appropriate interventions are not put in place.
Most of these people live in developing countries of which Uganda is one. It was against this unacceptable prognosis, that World Health Organization declared hearing care a global priority and called member countries to develop strategies to address hearing loss.