Photo: A 5 year old boy leads his father Ocitti Ceaser, helping him carry one of his spare limbs for repair by the Association of Volunteers in International Service(AVSI) in Gwenkoro village, Pader district-Northern Uganda. The father is a Land mine survivor who lost both of his legs during the LRA war and had a bilateral below knee amputation. He says that the artificial limbs have contributed much to his life. He is both a tailor and a Cobbler.
These prosthetics must be replaced every 2-3 years for adults and every 6 months for children due to breakages, rigorous activities like farming and general wear and tear. However, many of the local People in Land mine infested areas can neither afford nor access them. Thanks to organisations like AVSI.
The war between the Ugandan government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army- led by the notorious Joseph Kony caused overwhelming shock to many for about 20 years. Thousands were killed and more injured by landmines that were laid by both sides during the course of the country’s civil war.
As the communities heal, victim assistance services in Uganda are woefully lacking and according to some reports, medical care available at public facilities does not include the costs of medicines and prescriptions which patients must obtain from external pharmacies at cost. In 2011, a landmine victim died at the Mulago hospital in the capital of Kampala when the drugs needed for surgery were unavailable.
“When a war is over I think it’s a cowardly thing to leave the war behind you in minefields that hit women and children and the most vulnerable. Imagine the war is finished and you go to work and there are snipers shooting at you. Imagine taking your kids to the beach and you find that the beach is blowing up beneath you. Like there’s nowhere safe.”