Saturday, October 19, 2013


A new mother with her newborn at Ogur HC IV, Lira district Northern Uganda

Robina Biteyi
National Coordinator, WRA Uganda

At the 68th UN General Assembly in New York the World Bank Group, UNICEF, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Government of Norway committed $ 1.5 billion in financing over the three years to help achieve Millenniums Goals  (MDGs) 4 and 5, which focus on reducing child mortality and improving maternal health and reproductive health including access to contraception. Both MDG 4 and 5 are most off-track of all the development Goals.

This commitment and the renewed efforts to accelerate the achievement n of both MDGs 4 and 5 must be commended and applauded. However, this must be supported by an equally committed national local response.

Estimates show that ensuring all women who want to use contraception can access it the maternal mortality would be reduced by 30 percent globally. Uganda’s maternal mortality ratio stands at 438/100,000 live births (UDHS, 2011). Neonatal mortality is estimated at 21/1,000 live births. First day deaths are estimated at 15,100 in total the country looses 42,000 newborns annually; this contributes to 12% of the under-five mortality rate.

It is clear that family planning plays a big role in reducing maternal mortality. Every woman should be supported to choose if and when to become pregnant in the course of her life. This will keep more women and their children alive and productive members of their society.

However, let us not lose sight of the important life saving role of ensuring that every woman and her newborn have access to both basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric care. It is estimated that at least 15% of all pregnant mothers will need life saving emergency obstetric care. Uganda has committed to providing basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care (EmBONC) at health centers 111 and comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care (EmCONC) at health centers 1V. This effort has been constrained by inadequate human resources with life saving skills (doctors, midwives and nurses with midwifery skills. This coupled with inadequate equipment and supplies have  put the lives of mothers and their newborns at risk and have contributed to the persistent high maternal and neonatal mortality in Uganda.

With only 829 days until the MDG deadline of December, 31, 2015. We would like to appeal to our Government to uphold its commitment to ensure that no woman dies during pregnancy and childbirth and every newborn is born alive and survives to be a healthy and productive member of his/her society.

See President Museveni's Statement at 68th UN General Assembly:

We ask you to keep your Promise. Act Now To Save Mothers

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