|Representatives of the Civil Society Coalition on MNCH addressing the press: L-R Mr. Kintu James-World Vision, Ms Robina Bitey-WRA Uganda, Mr. Topher Mugumya-Save the Children and Ms Robinah Kaitiritimba, UNHCO|
By Elman Nsinda
The Civil Society Coalition of Uganda working in Maternal, Newborn and Child Health have implored the Members of Parliaments to hold governments accountable for increasing budget allocation to maternal health; especially to African governments who committed themselves to allocate over 15% of their National budgets to health ministries, also to hold governments accountable over implementation of policies in existence and international commitments such as UN Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s health, the Abuja declaration Maputo Plan of Action, and strengthen health systems, among others.
This was during the Press Conference convened in Kampala at the eve of the Inter-Parliamentary assembly. The assembly is scheduled for 31st March to 5th April 2012.
According to United Nations over 350.000 women die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth every year; 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries and more than 7.5 million children die annually before reaching their fifth birthday, with over 40% dying in their first month.
Addressing the press, Mr. James Kintu on behalf of the coalition attributed maternal death to weak health systems, inadequate financial and human resources to health sector, and inadequate nutrition, among others.
The coalition demands that urgent attention be put on nutrition needs, and the rights of women and children to access health. They appeal to parliamentarians to take possible measures to harness political will as well as lobby for resources necessary to avert maternal and child deaths. They also want MPs to use the oversight and accountability tools throughout the budgetary process to ensure that adequate domestic expenditures are allocated for reproductive, maternal newborn and child health and nutrition; ensuring that resources are properly used.
At the same press conference, the National Coordinator of White Ribbon Alliance For Safe motherhood Uganda Ms Robina Biteyi called on the Parliament of Uganda to follow up the implementation of their resolutions passed in a motion raised on 15 December 2011, where they (MPs) instructed government to: recentralize recruitment of health workers in order to address life threatening shortages, implement the national plan to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV, and report to parliament on the status of recruiting 2,000 additional midwives within two months, among others.
“It’s not enough for parliament to pass a motion-they must oversee implementation of the motion.”Robina Biteyi urged.
The organizations also appealed to the constitutional court to proceed with urgent attention with the petition which criminalizes government’s action of not providing essential medical commodities and health services to expectant mothers.
The coalition includes: The White Ribbon Alliance, World Vision, Save the Children, Uganda National Health Consumers Organization, AGHA, Save the Children, Save the Mothers, CEHURD, Alliance, CIDI, HAG, HURINET, UCBAC, UGAN, Parent Network and UHCA among others.
Among the coalition Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly side events include holding panel discussions in collaboration with Parliament of Uganda on the following topics (All to be held at Parliament Conference Hall).
- Making the Scaling up of child nutrition an investment priority for prosperity: An urgent call for political action
- Accelerating the reduction of maternal and newborn deaths by 2015: The role of parliamentarians
- From commitments to action: The role of legislators in ending preventable deaths among children
Media activities including TV debates, press releases are also planned in addition to an exhibition at Serena Hotel one of the official IPU host. Come and visit WRA Citizen News desk and have your say.