Christine Marie Carlson

Christine Carlson (Gulu Disabled Persons Union): Christine received her BA from The Evergreen State College. She went on to work for Planned Parenthood in Seattle, advocating for reproductive health strategies; co-manage a project on HIV-AIDS with PATH (the Northwest Microbicides Campaign Bill) funded by the Gates Foundation; and worked as an associate producer for Bill Nye’s series “The Eyes of Nye.” Christine was pursuing a Master’s in International Public Administration at the Monterey Institute of International Studies (MIIS) at the time of her fellowship. After her fellowship, Christine wrote: “I was extremely lucky to have such a wonderful group of people to work with. They are highly social and welcomed me eagerly. They tried to put my desk in an outside office, but I insisted on being put in the main office. I often bought sodas and fruit for the whole office, took photos constantly (which they loved) and was always available to lend a hand or an ear.”


21 Jun

A few days ago I met with the impressive Mr. Apollo Mukasa (pictured above) who works for the Uganda National Physical Disabilities (UNAPD).  He has been working in coalition with other advocates including the outspoken, brilliant lawyer, Francis Onyango (pictured with me below) to formalize guidelines for accessibility. Uganda has demonstrated a commitment to increasing the standard of living for persons with disabilities (PWDs) by passing the Persons with Disabilities Act in 2006 and approving of the UN Convention on the Rights and Dignity of PWDs in 2008. PWDs are also guaranteed seats at every level of government including 5 in parliament.  However, in general private and government buildings lack basic accessibility accommodations, especially for persons with spinal cord injuries.

Apollo Mukasa:

“What does Apollo do if there is no wheelchair ramp? I must be carried in like a baby to my formal meeting. It is undignified. This must change in Uganda.”

The Building Control Bill has been approved by the Ugandan Cabinet and will proceed to parliament for a vote. If PWD advocates can add the accessibility standards guideline to the bill this would be an incredible victory. Uganda would become a leader in Africa for persons with disabilities.

Posted By Christine Marie Carlson

Posted Jun 21st, 2010


  • Paul Carlson

    June 22, 2010


    Dear Christine,

    I am wondering about the care, treatment and housing for persons with psychiatric disabilities in Uganda? Does Uganda operate public psychiatric hospitals and community mental health agencies? Or do private organizations such as NGO’s responsible for such care? Are there advocates for persons with mental illness?

    I know that in many developing countries mental health care is still largely left to the family system. This can work, except in the case of persons with major psychiatric issues, like severe and persistent schizophrenia.

    Thank you,

    Paul C.

  • Mendi

    June 25, 2010


    @ Christine: Looking forward to following your blogs!

    @Paul, There’s a public national referral psychiatric hospital, Butabika Hospital .There are also NGOs who provide mental health care and treatment as part of their explicit mandate e.g. Mental Health Uganda

    Other NGOs also provide mental health support as part of their work e.g. ACTV, Uganda who provide mental health counselling and referrals to survivors of torture as part of their mandate to treat and rehabilitate torture survivors. There are also some very good groups on the ground providing peer-peer counselling and general counselling as part of their work.

    Hope this helps.

  • Dagan

    June 25, 2010


    I guess homophobia is the least of their problems. I read a news story one time about Somalia. A doctor was saying that the entire country has PTSD and there’s no mental health professionals there at all… I bet that even countries that do have mental health professionals access for people in rural areas and urban slums must be very low.

    Probably, as you say mainly through the family and the (homophobic) church or other religious organization…

    Great pictures.

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